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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Stadium hopes for big star names
Keane played at tsunami aid gig and will also perform at Live 8
The head of Wales' Millennium Stadium says the success of its tsunami fund raising concert is attracting more big name acts to the venue.

General manager Paul Sergeant said the Cardiff show, staged shortly after the Indian Ocean catastrophe, opened a "whole new world" for the stadium.

Mr Sergeant said music promoters and artists were "incredibly positive".

He also confirmed he would welcome back next year's FA Cup final if the rebuilt Wembley was not ready in time.

As details were announced of the Live 8 concerts to focus attention on the fight against poverty in Africa, Mr Sergeant said the Millennium Stadium would have been involved if it had not been busy.

We know the date of the cup final, we are open for business, and we'd love it to come back to Cardiff
Paul Sergeant, stadium manager
Bob Geldof's five charity gigs in London, Berlin, Paris, Philadelphia, and Rome on 2 July will feature dozens of the world's top names.

The Cardiff tsunami gig starring such acts as Keane and Eric Clapton in January raised more than 1.25m for victims of the Boxing Day disaster after just three weeks' organisation. Mr Sergeant guessed Live 8 had needed at least six months' planning so far.

Among the big names already booked for the Millennium Stadium at U2 on 29 June, and REM on 10 July, and Mr Sergeant said September and December were looking potentially busy as well.

Wales' Millennium Stadium
The FA Cup final was first staged in Cardiff in 2001
"We have been talking to the live music business and they were incredibly impressed with the success of (the) tsunami (show) and that we as the venue actually drove that whole process.

"And not only were the promoters' agents impressed so were the artists. A lot of people came here for the first time, had an incredibly positive experience.

Complicated project

"They really enjoyed it. It was a great show and it's opened up a whole new world for us."

The stadium has staged the FA Cup final and other top English football games such as the play-offs while Wembley is reconstructed. But although the FA insists the FA Cup will return to London next year, Cardiff is ready to host the game if Wembley is not ready.

"We've still left it in the position where we know the date of the cup final, we are open for business, and we'd love it to come back to Cardiff," said Mr Sergeant.

"But at the moment they are still pretty adamant that at the moment the game will be played at Wembley on 13 May next year."

Mr Sergeant said such big projects were very complicated, as the Millennium Stadium proved when it ran its own completion deadline close six years ago.

"Everyone will know what happened here in Cardiff in the build up to the Rugby World Cup in '99 and suddenly they all happen.

"Whether that will be the case or not at Wembley I'm not so sure."


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