Wembley on shortlist for 2010 European Cup final
The Football Association last night confirmed Wembley is in the running to host the Champions League final in 2010 or 2011 while Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Dublin's rebuilt Lansdowne Road are in contention for the Uefa Cup final.
The rebuilt stadium has been shortlisted by European football's governing body, Uefa, alongside Berlin's Olympic Stadium, the Allianz Arena in Munich and in Spain, Madrid's Bernabeu and the Mestalla in Valencia. A Uefa delegation will visit Wembley before the end of this year with a decision expected in March next year.
At the same time the Emirates Stadium and Lansdowne Road, which is undergoing a huge renovation, will compete with Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, Espanyol's Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, the Hamburg Arena and the National Stadium in Bucharest.
Uefa last night revealed the selection criteria, which have been slightly changed from previous shortlists.
"Capacity, infrastructure, facilities and functionality" were listed as well as legal documentation, accommodation and airport facilities. There also remains a rotation policy between national associations.
A statement from the FA said: "We can confirm that Wembley Stadium has been shortlisted by Uefa for hosting either the 2010 or 2011 Champions League final. Wembley will be up against the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid and the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia. The selection was made on a range of criteria including stadium capacity, infrastructure, facilities and security arrangements, along with accommodation and transport links and rotation between host national associations. A Uefa delegation will inspect the stadium before the end of the year as part of their bid assessment, with a final decision expected in late March 2008."
The FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, said: "We're delighted that Uefa have shortlisted Wembley for the 2010 and 2011 finals. It is recognition of Wembley's place among the very best football stadiums in the world, as well as its unique tradition and history.
"It is a stadium for the big games and one that will surely inspire the Continent's finest players."
The Olympic Stadium in Berlin was renovated and the Allianz Arena built from scratch for last year's World Cup in Germany.
Valencia, meanwhile, have recently unveiled ambitious plans to build a new 75,000-capacity ground – christened "Nou Mestalla" – to replace their atmospheric Mestalla home.
Wembley last hosted the showpiece event in 1992 when Barcelona won their first European Cup courtesy of Ronald Koeman's extra-time free-kick.
The Champions League finals in 2008 and 2009 will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Olympic Stadium in Rome respectively.