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Monday, November 15, 1999 Published at 15:23 GMT


'Triumph' arch to crown Wembley

The arch replaces Wembley's current Twin Towers

The new £475m Wembley stadium will contain a "triumphant arch", it was revealed on Monday.

The 153 metre tall steel structure arching directly over the arena replaces the original design, featuring four sky-scraping masts, which was launched in July.

The BBC's Neil Bennett reports: "English football has a new symbol for the 21st century"
The architects say the arch, which will dominate the north London skyline and be illuminated at night, will make the reborn stadium more distinctive.

At a media conference to unveil the new plans, architect Lord Foster, said: "It is a triumphant arch.

[ image: The arch replaces the original design of four steel masts]
The arch replaces the original design of four steel masts
"In the spirit of any team, we have sought to push back the limits to generate an improved performance and in this case design."

Fellow architect, Rod Sheard, was more outspoken.

"We're on the launch pad and are ready to launch the world's greatest stadium," he said.

"Not just the greatest stadium right now but the greatest stadium the world has ever built."

The venue is intended to be the launchpad of Britain's 2006 World Cup bid and will hold over 100,000 fans when it reopens.

The new-look Wembley will undoubtedly be seen as a boost not only for football but also for Britain's chances of staging the Olympic Games for the first time since 1948.

The planning application was submitted to Brent Council on Monday and if everything goes to plan the timetable for redevelopment will begin immediately.

Wednesday's European play-off between Scotland and England will be the last game to be held at the venue, which will be reopened in time to host the 2003 FA Cup final.

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