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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
FA Cup bid for Wales
Wembley stadium
Wembley will not be replaced for three years
The Welsh Assembly is being urged to lobby for the FA Cup final to be staged in Cardiff.

Assembly Member Alun Cairns believes the 72,000-seat Millennium Stadium is a prime location to host the cup during the reconstruction of Wembley Stadium.

The massive 475m Wembley project is not due for completion for three years, with several competitions - including football's Worthington Cup - needing temporary grounds.

Mr Cairns has asked Tom Middlehurst, the Assembly Secretary responsible for sport, what he is doing to attract the game to the Millennium Stadium.

Alun Cairns AM
Alun Cairns AM: Tabling question

Cardiff has also been mentioned as a possible venue for the Division One, Two and Three play-offs.

Mr Cairns has put his request in a formal question to Mr Middlehurst, which is due to be answered on Wednesday.

Landing the final would be a major coup for the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales.

The tournament would provide invaluable publicity for Cardiff and Wales as a whole.

There are also hopes that the Millennium Stadium could host the Worthington Cup final and the Charity Shield this August, the traditional curtain-raiser played between the Premiership and FA Cup winners.

Gianluca Vialli
Farewell: Gianluca Vialli at Wembley
The Charity Shield year will be between Manchester United and Chelsea.

There is also talk of a European soccer final in Cardiff.

UEFA, European soccer's ruling body, has already given the stadium its highest, five-star rating.

This puts the ground on a par with grounds such as the Nou Camp in Barcelona and the San Siro in Milan.

However, there have been reports that the English Football Association is reluctant to move its showpiece game outside England.

Bobbly surface

Other grounds said to be in the running for the Cup final include Old Trafford, Manchester United's ground, Twickenham, the home of English rugby, and Aston Villa's stadium, Villa Park.

There were complaints that the surface of the Millennium Stadium was unsuitable for football when Wales played their first international there against Finland in March.

But its prospects should have improved when the surface was noticeably better for the Wales-Brazil game - the first soccer international to be played under a closed roof.

And the stadium has already been chosen as the venue for Wales' football team to play their future home international matches.

See also:

25 May 00 | Football
21 May 00 | UK
20 May 00 | FA Cup
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