|Owner||The Football Association|
|Operator||Wembley National Stadium Limited|
90,000 (Association football, rugby league, rugby union)
75,000 to 90,000 seated and 15,000 standing (concerts)
60,000 to 72,000 (athletics)
|Record attendance||89,874 (Portsmouth-Cardiff City, 17 May 2008)|
|Field size||105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yd)|
|Broke ground||30 September 2002|
|Opened||9 March 2007|
GBP £757 million (2007)
(£916 million in 2015 sterling)
|Architect||HOK Sport (Populous since 2009), Foster and Partners, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (planning consultants)|
|Structural engineer||Mott Stadium Consortium - Mott MacDonald, Sinclair Knight & Merz & Aurecon|
|Services engineer||Mott MacDonald|
|General contractor||Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd|
Wembley Stadium (currently known officially as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for commercial sponsorship reasons) is an association football stadium in Wembley Park, London, England. It opened in 2007 and was built on the site of the earlier Wembley Stadium which was demolished in 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches such as the FA Cup Final and home matches of the England national football team.
Wembley Stadium is a UEFA category four stadium. With 90,000 seats it is the second largest stadium in Europe and the largest stadium in the United Kingdom. It is owned by The Football Association through their subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL).
Designed by HOK Sport (known as Populous since 2009) and Foster and Partners, it includes a partially retractable roof and the 134-metre-high (440 ft) Wembley Arch. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million.
In domestic club football, in addition to the FA Cup final, the stadium hosts the season-opening FA Community Shield, the finals of the Football League Cup, the Football League Trophy and the Football League play-offs. In European club football, it hosted the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League Final. In international football, the stadium hosted the Gold medal matches at the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament, and will host both the semi-finals and final of UEFA Euro 2020. The stadium also hosts the rugby league Challenge Cup Final, the NFL International Series and music concerts.
- Construction 1.1
- Handover and opening 1.2
- Structure 1.3
- Pitch 1.4
- Covering 1.5
- Litigation 1.6
- Football matches at Wembley 2.1
- Concerts 3.1
Firsts at the new Wembley Stadium 4
- Football 4.1
- Rugby league 4.2
- Rugby union 4.3
- American football 4.4
- Boxing 4.5
Transport connections 5
- Rail and Underground 5.1
- Onsite parking 5.2
- Bus 5.3
- In the media 6
- References 7
- External links 8
Wembley was designed by architects Foster + Partners and Populous (known as HOK Sport at the time of the design phase and construction) and with engineers Mott Stadium Consortium, who were a collection of three structural engineering consultants in the form of Mott MacDonald Ltd, Sinclair Knight & Merz and Aurecon. The design of the building services was carried out by Mott MacDonald Ltd. The construction of the stadium was managed by Australian company Brookfield Multiplex and funded by Sport England, WNSL (Wembley National Stadium Limited), the Football Association, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the London Development Agency. It is one of the most expensive stadia ever built at a cost of £798 million (After the MetLife Stadium) and has the largest roof-covered seating capacity in the world. Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners was appointed to assist Wembley National Stadium Limited in preparing the scheme for a new stadium and to obtain planning and listed building permission for the development.
The all-seater stadium is based around a bowl design with a capacity of 90,000, protected from the elements by a sliding roof that does not completely enclose it. It can also be adapted as an athletic stadium by erecting a temporary platform over the lowest tier of seating. The stadium's signature feature is a circular section lattice arch of 7 m (23 ft) internal diameter with a 315 m (1,033 ft) span, erected some 22° off true, and rising to 133 m (436 ft). It supports all the weight of the north roof and 60% of the weight of the retractable roof on the southern side. The archway is the world's longest unsupported roof structure.
A "platform system" has been designed to convert the stadium for athletics use, but its use would decrease the stadium's capacity to approximately 60,000. No athletics events (track and field) have taken place at the stadium, and none are scheduled.  The conversion for athletics use was a condition of part of the lottery funding the stadium received, but to convert it would take weeks of work and cost millions of pounds.
The initial plan for the reconstruction of Wembley was for demolition to begin before Christmas 2000, and for the new stadium to be completed some time during 2003, but this work was delayed by a succession of financial and legal difficulties. In 2004, the London Mayor and Brent Council also announced wider plans for the regeneration of Wembley, taking in the arena and the surrounding areas as well as the stadium, to be implemented over two or three decades.
Delays to the construction project started as far back as 2003. In December 2003, the constructors of the arch, subcontractors Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company of Darlington, warned Multiplex about rising costs and a delay on the steel job of almost a year due to Multiplex design changes which Multiplex rejected. Cleveland Bridge withdrew from the project and replaced by Dutch firm Hollandia with all the attendant problems of starting over. 2004 also saw errors, most notably a fatal accident involving carpenter Patrick O'Sullivan for which construction firm PC Harrington Contractors were fined £150,000 in relation to breaches of health and safety laws.
In October 2005, Sports Minister Richard Caborn announced: "They say the Cup Final will be there, barring six feet of snow or something like that". By November 2005, WNSL were still hopeful of a handover date of 31 March, in time for the cup final on 13 May. However in December 2005, the builders admitted that there was a "material risk" that the stadium might not be ready in time for the final. In February 2006 these worries were confirmed, with the FA moving the game to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
On 20 March 2006, a steel rafter in the roof of the new development fell by a foot and a half, forcing 3,000 workers to evacuate the stadium and raising further doubts over the completion date which was already behind schedule. On 23 March 2006, sewers beneath the stadium buckled due to ground movement. GMB Union leader Steve Kelly said that the problem had been caused by the pipes not being properly laid, and that the repair would take months. Rumours circulated that the reason for the blockage was due to Multiplex failing to pay the contractors who laid the pipes who then filled in the pipes with concrete. A spokesman for developers Multiplex said that they did not believe this would "have any impact on the completion of the stadium", which was then scheduled to be completed on 31 March 2006.
On 30 March 2006, the developers announced that Wembley Stadium would not be ready until 2007. All competitions and concerts planned were to be moved to suitable locations. On 19 June 2006 it was announced that the turf had been laid. On 19 October 2006 it was announced that the venue was now set to open in early 2007 after the dispute between The Football Association and Multiplex had finally been settled. WNSL was expected to pay around £36m to Multiplex, on top of the amount of the original fixed-price contract. The total cost of the project (including local transport infrastructure redevelopment and the cost of financing) was estimated to be £1 billion (roughly US$2 billion).
For the new stadium the level of the pitch was lowered. During excavation of the new playing field, mechanical diggers unearthed a buried obstruction: the concrete foundations of Watkin's Tower, a failed attempt to construct a rival to the Eiffel Tower in London. Only base of the tower was ever built before being abandoned and demolished in 1907; the site was later used as the location for the first Wembley Stadium.
Handover and opening
The new stadium was completed and handed over to the FA on 9 March 2007. The official Wembley Stadium website had announced that the stadium would be open for public viewing for local residents of Brent on 3 March 2007, however this was delayed by two weeks and instead happened on 17 March.
While the stadium had hosted football matches since the handover in March, the stadium was officially opened on Saturday 19 May, with the staging of the 2007 FA Cup Final. Eight days before that on Friday 11 May, the statue of Bobby Moore had been unveiled by Sir Bobby Charlton outside the stadium entrance, as the "finishing touch" to the completion of the stadium. The twice life-size bronze statue, sculpted by Philip Jackson, depicts England's 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, looking down Olympic Way.
- The stadium contains 2,618 toilets, more than any other venue in the world.
- The stadium has a circumference of 1 km (0.62 mi).
- The bowl volume is listed at 1,139,100 m3, somewhat smaller than the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but with a greater seating capacity.
- At its peak, there were more than 3,500 construction workers on site.
- 4,000 separate piles form the foundations of the new stadium, the deepest of which is 35 m (115 ft).
- There are 56 km (35 mi) of heavy-duty power cables in the stadium.
- 90,000 m3 (120,000 yd3) of concrete and 23,000 tonnes (25,000 short tons) of steel were used in the construction of the new stadium.
- The total length of the escalators is 400 m (¼ mi).
- The Wembley Arch has a cross-sectional diameter greater than that of a cross-channel Eurostar train.
The new pitch is 13 ft (4.0 m) lower than the previous pitch. The pitch size, as lined for association football, is 115 yd (105 m) long by 75 yd (69 m) wide, slightly narrower than the old Wembley, as required by the UEFA stadium categories for a category four stadium, the top category.
Since the completion of the new Wembley, the pitch has come into disrepute since it was described as being "no good" and "not in the condition that Wembley used to be known for" by Slaven Bilić before the game between England and the team he managed, Croatia. It was confirmed when the pitch was terribly cut up during the game, which was blamed by some as the reason England did not qualify for UEFA Euro 2008. The Football Association admitted in April 2009 after the FA Cup semi-finals that improvements are needed to the Wembley pitch after criticism of the surface by Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and David Moyes. The grass has been relaid ten times since the stadium re-opened in 2007 and was relaid again in the summer of 2009, ahead of the 2009 Community Shield.
In March 2010, the surface was relaid for the 10th time since 2007, when the stadium was built. In April 2010, the pitch was again criticised following the FA Cup semi-finals, during which the players found it difficult to keep their footing and the surface cut up despite the dry conditions. The then Tottenham Hotspur boss, Harry Redknapp labelled it a "disgrace" after his side's semi-final defeat to Portsmouth. After the 2010 FA Cup Final, Chelsea captain John Terry said, "The pitch ruined the final. It’s probably the worst pitch we’ve played on all year. It was not good enough for a Wembley pitch." It was relaid with Desso semi-artificial pitch, ahead of the 2010 community shield game between Chelsea and Manchester United. Michael Owen, who previously criticized the pitch for causing him injury, said that it was much improved.
The stadium roof has an area of 40,000 m2, of which 13,722 m2 is movable. The primary reason for the sliding roof was to avoid shading the pitch, as grass demands direct sunlight to grow effectively. The sliding roof design minimises the shadow by having the roof pulled back on the east, west and south. Angus Campbell, chief architect, also said that an aim was for the pitch to be in sunlight during the match between the beginning of May and the end of June, between 3 pm and 5 pm, which is when the FA and World cups would be played. However it was mentioned during live commentary of the FA Cup Final in 2007 that the pitch was in partial shade at the start at 3 pm and also during the match.
The stadium roof rises to 52 metres above the pitch and is supported by an arch rising 133 metres above the level of the external concourse. With a span of 315 metres, the arch is the longest single span roof structure in the world.
The Australian firm Multiplex, which was the main contractor on Wembley Stadium, made significant losses on the project. In an attempt to recoup some of those losses, the firm has initiated a number of legal cases against its sub-contractors and consultants. The largest of these – the largest construction claim in UK legal history – was a claim for £253 million against the structural engineering consultants Mott MacDonald. In preliminary hearings the two architecture practices which worked for Multiplex on the project were ordered to allow Multiplex access to their records in order for them to build a case. The practices, Foster + Partners and Populous, estimated the costs of providing access and answering Multiplex's queries at £5 million. The case was not due to be heard until January 2011. Mott MacDonald has issued a counter-claim for unpaid fees of £250,000. The dispute between Multiplex (now known as Brookfield) and Mott MacDonald was settled out of court in June 2010, the judge having warned that costs were likely to be more than £74 million.
Multiplex also took the original steel contractor, Cleveland Bridge, to court in order to claim up to £38 million compensation for costs resulting from Cleveland Bridge walking away from the job. Cleveland Bridge, in turn, claimed up to £15 million from Multiplex. The case was finally resolved in September 2008 with Cleveland Bridge ordered to pay £6.1 million in damages and 20% of Multiplex's costs after the court found Cleveland Bridge was in the wrong to walk off site. The judge criticised both sides for allowing the case to reach court, pointing out that total costs were £22 million, including £1 million for photocopying. Multiplex's ultimate bill is estimated to be over £10 million.
Multiplex is also contesting a claim from its concrete contractor, PC Harrington, that Multiplex owes £13.4 million to PC Harrington.
The English national football team is a major user of Wembley Stadium. Given the ownership by The Football Association as of 10 March 2007, the League Cup final moved back to Wembley from Cardiff following the FA Cup final and FA Community Shield. Other showpiece football matches that were previously staged at Wembley, such as the Football League promotion play-offs and the Football League Trophy final, have returned to the stadium, as has the Football Conference play-off final. Additionally, the Rugby League Challenge Cup final returned to Wembley Stadium in 2007. The new Wembley was a significant part of the plan for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London; the stadium was the site of several games in both the men's and women's football tournaments, with the finals being held there. Additionally, Wembley is one of the 13 2015 Rugby World Cup venues.
Wembley has had a long association with American Football. A United States Football League game was staged there in 1984, and between 1986 and 1993 the old Wembley stadium hosted eight National Football League exhibition games featuring 13 different NFL teams. Since the new Wembley Stadium opened in 2007 Wembley has hosted games during the NFL regular season. As a result of this, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated in October 2009 that "he expects the NFL will start playing multiple regular-season games in Britain in the next few years, an expansion that could lead to putting a franchise in London." On 20 January 2012, the league announced that the St. Louis Rams would become a temporary tenant of Wembley Stadium, playing an annual game at the stadium every year from 2012 to 2014; part of the reason the Rams were chosen was the fact that the team is owned by Stan Kroenke, who also is majority shareholder in a local Premier League team, Arsenal. However, the Rams later cancelled their 2013-2014 games, leading to the Jacksonville Jaguars becoming new temporary tenants and hosting games in London from 2013-2016.
Football matches at Wembley
Besides football, Wembley can be configured to hold many other events, particularly major concerts but also private events like weddings and conferences. This is an economic necessity given that the stadium ended up costing the FA much more than was originally projected. The regular covering of the pitch for concerts has led to the pitch being relaid often (see elsewhere in this article). Regular changes to the pitch mean that it never matches the quality of its surroundings, or of the pitch of the old Wembley in its later years.
The first concert at the new stadium was given by
Firsts at the new Wembley Stadium
- On 16–17 June 2007, Muse became the first artist to sell out the new Wembley Stadium with a crowd of 180,000 fans in two nights.
- On 11 September 2008, Madonna performed to a sell-out crowd of over 74,000 fans and a gross of over US$12 million and surpassed all previous grosses at both the old and the new Wembley Stadia.
- U2 performed to a record 82,000 fans each night on 14 and 15 August 2009. The U2 360° Tour stage was designed to cater for fans positioned behind the stage.
- Eminem became the first rapper to headline at Wembley Stadium performing to a record 90,000 fans each night 11 and 12 July 2014.
- One Direction performed at the stadium as part of their Where We Are Tour on 6, 7 and 8 June 2014
|List of concerts|
|Year||Date||Main act(s)||Opening act(s)||Tour / Concert name||
|2007||9 June||George Michael||—||25 Live||172,458|
|16 June||Muse||The Streets, Dirty Pretty Things, Rodrigo y Gabriela||Black Holes and Revelations Tour||180,000||HAARP CD released.|
|17 June||My Chemical Romance, Biffy Clyro, Shy Child||HAARP DVD released.|
|1 July||Elton John, Take That, Rod Stewart, Kanye West, Duran Duran and others||Concert for Diana||N/A||A concert in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales, broadcast internationally and then released on DVD/Blu-ray.|
|7 July||Madonna, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica and others||Live Earth||N/A||One of the Live Earth benefit concerts held to combat global warming.|
|8 July||Metallica||HIM, Machine Head, Mastodon||Sick of the Studio '07||N/A|
|2008||6 June||Foo Fighters||—||—||N/A||Live at Wembley Stadium DVD released.|
|11 September||Madonna||Paul Oakenfold||Sticky & Sweet Tour||73,349|
|2009||26 June||AC/DC||The Subways, The Answer||Black Ice World Tour||N/A|
|1 July||Take That||Gary Go, James Morrison||The Circus Live||N/A|
|3 July||Gary Go, The Script||The Greatest Day – Take That Present: The Circus Live DVD/CD released.|
|4 July||Gary Go, Lady Gaga|
|9 July||Oasis||Kasabian, The Enemy, Reverend and The Makers||Dig Out Your Soul Tour||N/A|
|14 August||U2||Elbow, The Hours||U2 360° Tour||164,244|
|15 August||Glasvegas, The Hours|
|18 September||Coldplay||Jay-Z, Girls Aloud, White Lies||Viva la Vida Tour||N/A|
|2010||6 June||Rihanna, Usher, Justin Bieber, Cheryl Cole, JLS, Kesha, Dizzee Rascal and others||Summertime Ball 2010||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|19 June||Green Day||Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Frank Turner||21st Century Breakdown World Tour||N/A|
|10 September||Muse||Lily Allen, The Big Pink, White Rabbits||Resistance Tour||N/A|
|11 September||Biffy Clyro, White Lies, I Am Arrows|
|2011||12 June||Jennifer Lopez, JLS, Jessie J, Enrique Iglesias, Nicole Scherzinger and others||Summertime Ball 2011||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|30 June||Take That||Pet Shop Boys||Progress Live||623,737|
|2012||9 June||Katy Perry, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Jessie J, Usher, The Wanted and others||Summertime Ball 2012||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|2013||9 June||Robbie Williams, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, Olly Murs and others||Summertime Ball 2013||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|15 June||Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band||—||Wrecking Ball World Tour||70,425|
|22 June||The Killers||James, The Gaslight Anthem||Battle Born World Tour||N/A|
|29 June||Robbie Williams||Olly Murs||Take the Crown Stadium Tour||263,288|
|14 September||Roger Waters||—||The Wall Live||57,803|
|2014||6 June||One Direction||5 Seconds of Summer||Where We Are Tour||236,566|
|21 June||Miley Cyrus and others||Summertime Ball 2014||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|2015||19 June||Foo Fighters||Iggy Pop, Royal Blood||-|
|10 July||Ed Sheeran|
The Olympics meant that no concerts took place at Wembley in summer 2012, with other big shows taking place elsewhere. In summer 2013, there will be seven big shows. The first act to perform at the venue will be Bruce Springsteen, who will be playing his first show at the new stadium on 15 June. One week later, American rock band The Killers will perform their biggest headline show at the venue on 22 June. Robbie Williams will then be performing four solo concerts at the stadium on 29 and 30 June, and on 2 and 5 July after previously performing with Take That at the stadium in 2011. The summer's final show saw former Pink Floyd bass guitarist Roger Waters play at the venue on 14 September as part of The Wall Live tour.
Take That played a record breaking 8 nights at Wembley Stadium in summer 2011 on their Progress Live tour, which has become the fastest and biggest selling tour in UK history. 623,737 people attended the 8 shows at the stadium.
Madonna played Wembley in 2008 during her Sticky and Sweet Tour, to a sold-out audience of 74,000. The event has surpassed all gross revenue for a single concert at Wembley, grossing nearly $12 million USD.
Las Vegas band The Killers played their largest-ever sold out audience of 80,000 on 22 June 2013. They performed a song specially written for the Wembley Stadium: The Wembley Song. Brandon Flowers, lead singer for The Killers said “We’ve written a song for this joyous occasion.” And proceeded to sing about some of Wembley’s great moments, its history from the Twin Towers to present day arch.
American punk rock band Green Day continued their world tour, playing at Wembley on 19 June 2010. The gig was Green Day's biggest audience yet with over 90,000.
95.8 Capital FM's Summertime Ball, which was previously hosted with 55,000 spectators at the Arsenal Emirates Stadium and slightly less in Hyde Park (as Party in the Park), was hosted at Wembley Stadium on 6 June 2010, and was headlined by Rihanna and Usher. The move to Wembley allowed many more fans to watch the annual music event which has previously lasted over 5 hours with more than 15 performers. It is thought to be the biggest commercial music event held at the stadium. It has since returned to the Stadium in 2011, 2012, 2013 and again in 2014 on 21 June.
Two large charity concerts have been held at the new Wembley stadium, the Concert for Diana, a memorial concert to commemorate ten years after the death of Princess Diana, and Live Earth, a concert hosted at Wembley as part of the Live Earth Foundation, committed to combating climate change.
Wembley Stadium hosted Take That Present: The Circus Live for 4 nights in summer 2009. The tour became the fastest selling tour in UK in history before that record was broken by Take That two years later with their Progress Live tour.