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Wembley doubtful for 2006 Cup Final warns FA

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CONSTRUCTION OF the new Wembley Stadium pitch began on schedule this week, days after the stadium client warned that the venue might not be ready for the May 2006 FA Cup final.

Stadium contractor Multiplex hit a key construction milestone last week by completing on-site welding of roof trusses.

This frees up the area for pitch construction.

Despite this advance, Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) chief executive Michael Cunnah told BBC Radio that the Stadium might not be ready.

'Multiplex is working to a 31 March deadline, but you've just got to see how fast they go and what progress they make in the next few months, ' he said.

This week, WNSL construction director Mike Richardson confi ed that wind, rain, frost and snow could all scupper the construction programme.

He told NCE that steel roof construction could slip behind schedule if it was too windy for tower cranes to operate and that cold weather or rain would hamper pitch construction.

Asked whether these were excuses being rolled out ahead of the contractor missing completion date, Richardson said, 'No. Absolutely not'.

Richardson defended the move to book the Cardiff Millennium Stadium for the FA Cup final as 'prudent'.

'If 4ft of snow fell this winter, we'd be snookered, ' he said.

Contractors were this week digging up 1.5m of made ground that had been laid across the pitch to take mobile crane loads. They will then install granular fi ll, drainage and heating, and the turf itself.

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