CONTRACTORS AT Wembley Stadium were this week ripping out hundreds of seats for the second time in a year, because their coverings had faded in the sun even before the official opening.
The stadium finally got the go-ahead to stage this year's FA Cup final last month after two successful test events. But stadium owners Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) now face the embarrassment of having to replace more than 1,000 executive seats ahead of the 19 May showpiece event.
Visitors taking guided tours of the ground could see workmen ripping out hundreds of faded red seats from the second tier and jettisoning them down yellow rubbish chutes into skips at pitchside.
A WNSL pokesman dmitted that 'small areas of seats are being replaced because they have started to fade'.
It is not the first time that seats have been torn out at Wembley.
Last June stadium contractor Multiplex admitted that it had to replace 5,000 because they faded in the sun.
It blamed the problem on the red dye used by seat manufacturer Pel Stadium Seating, which went into administration with 20,000 of Wembley's 90,000 seats still to be installed.
Multiplex bought the remaining seats and used its own labour to install them.
WNSL refused to confirm whether this latest replacement of seating was being carried out by Multiplex as part of the snagging process or comment on the cost.
The 90,000-seater stadium has been plagued by setbacks, which have pushed up its completion cost from £757M to £975M The delays forced the 2006 FA Cup Final and concerts by Robbie Williams and Bon Jovi to be moved to other venues (NCE 15 June 2006).