31/03/2006

More delays for Wembley Stadium

The Football Association has announced that all planned football matches at the beleaguered Wembley Stadium for the rest of the year will be moved to other venues, as the stadium faces further delays.

The announcement means that two England Euro 2008 qualifiers, a friendly match in August and the Community Shield will all be played in different venues.

All of England's other competitive fixtures after October 2006 are away matches, with the first home match taking place next September, when they play Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifier.

A statement from the FA said: "It is clear that the construction of Wembley Stadium is significantly behind schedule.

"The FA is taking the prudent measure of booking new venues for all of our fixtures until the year end."

A number of concerts scheduled to take place at the stadium have also had to be moved to different venues as a result of the delays. Concerts by US rock band Bon Jovi and reformed British boy band Take That will now take place at the Milton Keynes Bowl, while two Rolling Stones concerts will be held at the Twickenham Stadium.

The Rugby League's Challenge Cup final on August 26 will now also move to Twickenham.

Australian construction company Multiplex said that it hoped that the remaining work on the £757 million stadium would be completed by the end of June, with finishing touches completed by the end of September.

However, the FA would still need at least three months to test and fit out the stadium.

Multiplex has missed several deadlines for completing the stadium, the latest of which was March 31.

The construction of the stadium has suffered numerous problems, including the partial collapse of a roof beam last week and problems with sewage pipes.

There have also been problems with payments to sub-contractors, which resulted in steelworkers, scaffolders and welders being told earlier this week that they faced redundancy.

(KMcA)


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