Wembley misses deadline for FA Cup final

The new Wembley Stadium will not be ready for the FA Cup final in May, the Football Association has announced.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick confirmed that the new £757 million stadium would not be ready for the cup final, following a meeting with Wembley chief executive Michael Cunnah and Martin Tidd from Australian construction company Multiplex.

The final, which will take place on May 13, will now be played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

In a statement, Mr Barwick said: "Due to the magnitude of the Cup final, we are not prepared to compromise or take any risks on the stadium being unable to stage such a significant event.

"The FA took the prudent step of booking the Millennium Stadium as a back-up option to Wembley last August, therefore allowing us to extend this decision as long as possible and giving Multiplex every chance of making the May 13 date.

"It is clear to us that while they have over 3,500 people working hard on the site, Multiplex - and indeed WNSL - are unable to give us 100% certainty that the stadium will be completed in time for the FA Cup final."

Mr Barwick also confirmed that the cost of the stadium remained unchanged at £757 million.

Multiplex said that it was disappointed by the FA's decision. Multiplex company secretary Mark Wilson said: "While disappointed with the decision. Multiplex continues to work towards targeting completion of Wembley National Stadium at the earliest possible date."

The construction firm will face penalties of around £1 million per week for failing to meet the deadline, according to reports.

A completion date for the stadium has not yet been confirmed, but it is thought that the first sporting event to be held at the new stadium will most likely be the Community Shield on August 13.

England's pre-World Cup friendly matches against Hungary on May 30 and Jamaica on June 3 will now take place at Old Trafford.

The Rugby Football League is reportedly remaining "optimistic" that the Powergen Challenge Cup Final will go ahead at the new stadium as planned on August 26.


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