Wembley stadium open for business

After a year of delays the new Wembley stadium is set to host its first football match.

    The new Wembley stadium cost $1.57 billion to build [GALLO/GETTY]

    The $1.57 billion stadium should have been open more than a year ago but legal disputes between Australian constructors Multiplex and Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) delayed the opening by over a year.


    New features


    Since the old stadium was demolished, England's major football events such as the FA Cup and league play-off finals have been staged at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, while the national team has played at the nation's various premier arenas.


    Part of the reconstruction was the underground transport system, Wembley Park Station, and a walkway to and from the station to the stadium, doubling the number of people that can use the passageway at any one time.


    Famous for its royal box, where winning teams lifted the trophy and collected their medals, the demolished stadium had 39 steps leading to the elevated podium, while the new stadium has 107 steps, making the winning team's climb even higher to claim their trophy.


    The new stadium will be visible to most of
    west London [GALLO/GETTY]

    The new stadium will have world class features such as improved sound acoustics making the atmosphere even louder than the old Wembley.


    The partially-retractable roof allows maximum sunlight and ventilation to reach the playing surface, coupled with a state of the art undersoil heating and draining system, making the pitch one of the most playable in the world.


    One of the main features of the stadium is its 133-metre tall arch, dwarfing the old Wembley twin-towers that were just 35 metres high, which dominates west London's skyline and is clearly visible to airline passengers landing at Heathrow, the world's busiest airport.


    Safety first


    Local residents and England supporters were allowed in last week for a community day staged as part of the first procedure to obtain the general safety certificate.


    It was the first of two test days needed for the venue to get approval to host the FA Cup final later in May.


    Derek Jackson, a West Ham fan who had travelled from Romford, Essex, told a London based website at the community event that although the stadium is aesthetically pleasing to look at, it lacked some qualities.


    "It looks awesome, but they still need to sort out a lot of things with the food and drink," said Jackson.


    At the event, Geoff Galilee, director of Health, Safety and Licensing at Brent Council, said: "It was a very good day; it was great to have it open at last with the public in it.


    "It's the first tick in the box for hopefully being able to issue a safety certificate in the future."


    Visitor Douglas Rouse, from Tonbridge, Kent, told This is London website: "The stadium is very impressive, when it is full I think it will be very intimidating."




    Aside from sporting events, the new stadium will also host music acts from around the world.


    The first will be George Michael, the pop icon, whose performances are planned for June 9 and 10.

    Metal band Metallica will be the first American act to play at the new stadium, having 
    announced that their performance is scheduled for July 8.

    The band issued a statement this week on their website concerning their plans for the event: "This is the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium we're talking about, freshly delivered in time for us to test its barely dry foundations with a little live 'Tallica."


    More information on the stadium can be found at the Wembley Stadium Official Website.


    Al Jazeera is not responsible for content on external websites.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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