Page last updated at 20:53 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:53 UK

50m Cardiff City Stadium opens

Cardiff City Stadium
The stadium will be the home of both Cardiff's football and rugby clubs

Cardiff City have played Scottish giants Celtic at the official opening of the Bluebirds' £50m stadium.

Cardiff council leader Rodney Berman performed the official opening of the ground, which is also the new home to regional rugby side Cardiff Blues.

Thousands of visiting fans travelled to the Welsh capital for the friendly.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said it was a "conference and sporting venue out of the top drawer". The match ended 0-0.

Mr Berman called it a "fitting addition" to the city's sport venues.

We will see thrilling action involving Cardiff City and Cardiff Blues on the journey to the top of the sporting tree
First Minister Rhodri Morgan

The new stadium is just over the road from Cardiff City's former ground, Ninian Park in the Leckwith area.

It is also in Mr Morgan's Cardiff West constituency, and he said: "After more than half a century of supporting Cardiff's football and rugby teams through thick and thin, it is a fantastic privilege for me to be opening this superb new dual code stadium."

Mr Morgan said that 50 years ago he had watched Cardiff City beat Liverpool 6-0 at Ninian Park.

"It may be a year or two before I and my grandchildren will see that happening in the new stadium," he said.

"We have to look forward to go forward. We will see thrilling action involving Cardiff City and Cardiff Blues on the journey to the top of the sporting tree.

Mr Berman said the match was another key milestone in a landmark year for the city, following the recent Ashes cricket match at the Swalec Stadium and the opening of a new central library.

The council leader attended the game and paid tribute to all those involved in completing the 25,000-seater stadium.

"Both Cardiff City and Cardiff Blues are global brands and this stadium can only boost their success and profile even further," said Mr Berman.

He said another pleasing aspect was the spin off investment in the local economy, with about £110m brought into the area and an estimated 1200 jobs.

There have also been improvements to local roads and an extra 1,500 park and ride spaces created, along with community focused sports pitches and facilities for disabled athletes, he added.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "We are pleased to play our part in the opening of such a prestigious new venue".

Ninian Park, which was home to the Bluebirds for 99 years, hosted its last game in April.



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