Brent Council has this afternoon awarded the new Wembley stadium the safety certification it needed to allow it to hold the FA cup on May 19.
The award was made after Wembley hosted two successful events earlier this month. It can now be used by up to 90,000 spectators for a major sporting event.FA chief executive Brian Barwick said, 'It's the announcement that a lot of people have been waiting for and is great news for football fans in this country and indeed the world over.'Operators Wembley Stadium received the keys to the stadium from Multiplex on March 10, and speculation grew as to whether the two 'ramp-up' events - a community day for 34,000 people, and the Under-21 game against Italy for 56,000 fans, would take place in time for the safety certificate to be awarded. The stadium was due to open for the 2005 FA Cup, but spats between the contractors Multiplex, sub-contractors including Cleveland Bridge and Honeywell, and the stadium operators Wembley Stadium, caused serious delays. Originally set at £352M, the costs ballooned to £757m, creating a huge loss for Multiplex. Multiplex and Wembley Stadium agreed to bury their differences in October last year, paving the way for today's certification.Wembley Stadium managing director Alex Horne said: 'We received the keys to the stadium just over a fortnight ago, since then Wembley and The FA's staff have worked incredibly hard to put on two great test events in a very short period of time. We realise that there is still some way to go yet and are digesting the feedback we have received in order to ensure that coming to Wembley Stadium is a fantastic experience for fans.'