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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 March 2007, 16:50 GMT
Wembley opener attracts thousands
New Wembley Stadium
Fans were told to leave their cars at home
Thousands of football fans have watched the first official fixture at the new 800m Wembley Stadium.

About 60,000 supporters saw England's under-21 team draw 3-3 with Italy at the sell-out match.

Although it was a world record attendance for an under-21s game, the stadium was only two-thirds full.

The game was the second of two events the stadium had to host before being granted a safety certificate - paving the way for May's FA Cup final.

The Metropolitan Police advised spectators to use public transport to and from the venue, as there is no general public parking at the site.

Limited parking

Ch Supt Dave George said: "Although people travelled to the old stadium by car, there's no general public parking at the new stadium.

"Because of this we're asking people to use public transport and allow plenty of time for queuing and being searched on entry to the stadium."

Parking at the stadium is pre-booked in advance and strictly restricted to coaches and blue badge holders.

In the surrounding areas a residents' only parking scheme is in place and cars parked illegally will be fined and towed away.

Interior of Wembley Stadium

Last week, up to 40,000 people attended a special "community day" at the London venue and watched a celebrity kick-about.

On Saturday, officials said they would assess how improvements to the main local Tube station at Wembley Park held up to the pressure of large crowds.

Alex Horne, Wembley's managing director, said: "The community day was our first step towards obtaining our general safety certificate.

"We were very pleased with the event and are now learning from the inevitable teething problems that we experienced on the day."

Once the London borough of Brent has issued the general safety certificate, the FA will be in a position to confirm the FA Cup final can be held there on 19 May.

The international friendly against Italy was billed as a "key part" of England's preparations for this summer's Uefa European Under-21 Championship. The match had sold out in less than six hours.




SEE ALSO
How was Wembley for you?
24 Mar 07 |  Football
Wembley pictures
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England U21s draw Wembley cracker
24 Mar 07 |  Internationals
In Pictures: Wembley through the years
24 Mar 07 |  In Pictures
Pearson relishing Wembley honour
23 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Wembley game 'sold out' in hours
13 Mar 07 |  England
Wembley Q&A
10 Mar 07 |  Football

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