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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Wembley Stadium to open next year
By Howard Nurse
Football editor

Wembley Stadium (Picture courtesy of Multiplex)
The Wembley saga should finally end in 2007
The Football Association has ended the dispute with the builders of the new Wembley Stadium, paving the way for the venue to open early next year.

But the FA is not yet prepared to say the 2007 FA Cup final will definitely be staged at the near-800m stadium.

The FA wants to avoid a repeat of last season's fiasco when it had to move the Cup final to Cardiff after more delays.

However, BBC Sport understands that the 2007 final will almost certainly be played at the new Wembley next May.

The FA, Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) and Multiplex have now settled all outstanding disputes regarding the construction of, and payments for the project.

We look forward to staging major events at the stadium next year

FA chief executive Brian Barwick

The new national stadium, which was originally meant to cost 757m, was due to open at the beginning of 2006, but Multiplex announced a series of delays over its completion.

WNSL, a subsidiary of the FA, is now expected to pay about 35m to Multiplex on top of the original fixed-price contract to take account of changes to the design.

The actual terms of the agreement to get the stadium handed over to the FA early in 2007 have not been made public.

English football's governing body announced on Thursday that WNSL and Multiplex have put their "differences behind them" to get the stadium finished off.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick said: "This agreement secures the process of getting the new Wembley Stadium up, running and open to the public.

"We look forward to staging major events at the stadium next year and consider this agreement with Multiplex to represent the beginning of the end of the construction phase.

"Everyone's target is now to complete what will be the finest stadium in the world."

Multiplex chief executive Andrew Roberts said: "We are very pleased to have reached agreement with WNSL and the FA to put our past differences behind us and put all our joint efforts into completing Wembley Stadium at the earliest opportunity."

WNSL chief executive Michael Cunnah added: "This is very welcome news for everyone involved with the stadium."

Most of the building work at the site is now complete and two low-key events - such as an Under-21 international and a concert - will be staged at the stadium ahead of the FA Cup final.

Timeline: The new Wembley
21 Feb 06 |  Football
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Waiting for Wembley
02 Aug 06 |  Football
Barwick defends FA over Wembley
30 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Wembley builders in court battle
25 Apr 06 |  Business
Wembley builders deny delay blame
31 Mar 06 |  Sport Homepage
FA confirms new delays at Wembley
31 Mar 06 |  Sport Homepage

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