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Minister backs city's claim to football museum

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham says the National Football Museum should stay in Preston.

Senior Labour MPs were infuriated at recent comments by the chairman of the Football League, Lord Brian Mawhinney, that the flagship museum should leave its Deepdale home and move to Wembley.

Now the cabinet minister, who is helping to secure its future funding, has made it clear that the Government "has always been committed to the National Museum in Preston".

He also revealed that he hopes that the negotiations to secure the museum's future will be concluded early in the New Year.

Mr Burnham said: "The Government has always been committed to the National Football Museum in Preston and has once again stepped up to the plate to provide its share of funding to help sustain the Museum's future.

"The museum's funding has been based on the partnership model between football and Government and we will continue to work with the football authorities to help secure its future early in the New Year."

Lord Mawhinney reportedly told MPs earlier this month that more people would be able to see the museum's iconic collection if it was in London.

The remarks lifted the lid on years of simmering tension between the Football League and the much-loved museum at Deepdale.

It was later revealed the Football League had consistently refused to make any financial contribution to the museum and had repeatedly snubbed a long-standing invitation to take up a seat on the board.

Mr Burnham's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is leading negotiations with the Premier League, FA, PFA and Football League to agree a funding package for the museum.

In previous years, the museum has received around 300,000 from the Football Foundation. However, that money is now being directed into grassroots sport, leaving a funding gap.

Museum boss Kevin Moore said that he had asked the footballing authorities to provide 500,000 a year from April.

DCMS has pledged to provide around 100,000 of funding a year and the North West Development Agency is also providing around 100,000 to cover the period of negotiating the future funding package.

A senior academic football expert warned that if the football museum was to leave Preston it would have a detrimental effect on the city.

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