Adding yet another ingredient to the stew of ideas for a new football stadium, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments voted yesterday to study the possibility of a multipurpose "national coliseum" to serve as a new home for the Redskins and an arena for "national events" and celebrations.

The council acted on a proposal by Fairfax County Supervisor Martha Pennino (D-Centreville) to create a regional stadium authority, modeled after the airport authority, that would design, build and manage the new facility.

Pennino, who introduced the idea of a national stadium at a Fairfax Board of Supervisors meeting last month, said the region has "a need for something better than just a football stadium in the national capital of the United States . . . .

"We have nothing of grandeur like other nations, where we can have national events," she added.

She suggested that the District is probably the best place for a national coliseum, a position that was reaffirmed yesterday by the COG board.

Pennino said the deal could be structured in such a way that taxpayers would not be liable for the cost, although she offered few specifics. "I'm not an expert on financing," she said.

The unusual proposal is but the latest in a series of ideas for a new arena to replace Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, where the Redskins now play. Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke said last summer that the 55,000-seat stadium is too small and threatened to move his team to the suburbs if the city does not build him a new one, preferably with a dome.

This week, a group of Washington-area developers offered to do just that in Loudoun County. Members of Ultra-Dome Consortium revealed plans for a $770-million complex near Dulles International Airport in eastern Loudoun County featuring a 75,000-seat domed stadium surrounded by a shopping mall, hotel and convention center.

Meanwhile, District officials said yesterday that they had formally begun the process of advertising for consultants to study potential designs and financing schemes for a new or renovated stadium in the city.

Pennino emphasized that football would be just one use for the new stadium, saying that Cooke's recent ultimatum to the District -- he gave the city until June 30 to come up with a solid proposal -- was not "taken sympathetically in this region."

She added, "Mr. Cooke may pay the salaries of the Redskins, but the team belongs to the metropolitan area and its people."

Pennino's suggestion that a national coliseum could be built without public investment provoked some skepticism. In most cities with municipal stadiums, including Washington, construction debt is paid off with tax dollars. Gate receipts generally go toward operating and maintenance costs.

"Generally {stadiums} don't make money," said Denton Kent, the deputy county executive in Fairfax.

Others were caught by surprise. "What's she saying?" asked Jim Dalyrymple, who manages RFK Stadium for the D.C. Armory Board. "A national coliseum?"

Cooke could not be reached for comment.

Nonetheless, the proposal found a generally receptive audience among the members of the COG board, which voted to ask the COG staff to examine the legal obstacles to forming a regional stadium authority.

"We would become a world class, world-spectator-event-oriented city," said Montogomery County Council member William Hanna. Indeed, Hanna said, it was such a good idea that "even the national government might well put in a substantial sum of money."

Montgomery County Council member Rose Crenca was the only COG board member to voice serious reservations. "I think it's fine to have a place to celebrate the Fourth of July, but what are we talking about in terms of capital costs?" she asked.