The FA announced earlier today that the new Wembley stadium will not be complete in time to stage any of the big games it was scheduled to at the tail end of this stadium. If Liverpool now make it all the way to the FA Cup final, they’ll be playing it at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The international at Anfield next month, originally billed as England’s last game away from Wembley, will be followed now by two fixtures for the national side at Old Trafford.
The FA’s Chief Executive Brian Barwick gave a statement on the situation, explaining that these three big games would not now be played at the new stadium. He said “I can confirm today that this season’s FA Cup Final will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 13 May. I can also confirm that England’s pre-World Cup games against Hungary and Jamaica – previously scheduled for Wembley – will now be held at Old Trafford.”
The statement explained that those responsible for the new venue, still in its unpopular location, could not give enough certainty of handing the stadium over in time. Barwick said that the cup final was too big a game to have supporters hanging on wondering where it would be played: “Due to the magnitude of the cup final, we are not prepared to compromise or take any risks on the stadium being unable to stage such a significant event. We felt it was important to clarify the situation for everyone connected with the game in this country – especially for those teams and their supporters still in The FA Cup.”
The next big matches scheduled for Wembley include the Community Shield
in August, set for August 6th, and the Rugby League Challenge Cup some
Liverpool fans will be hopeful that the team can take them back down to
Cardiff again this season. Liverpool took part in the first FA Cup
final at the venue, beating Arsenal 2-1 thanks to two goals from
Michael Owen. This happened a few months after beating Birmingham in
the League Cup final at the same venue as Liverpool marched on towards
a treble, which included the UEFA Cup win in Germany.
The team that beat Arsenal in that FA Cup final included only five of
the current Liverpool squad – one of whom, Robbie Fowler, is ineligible
for Liverpool this season. The others were Sami Hyypia, Jamie
Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Didi Hamann.
* Congratulations to Liverpool’s youth side, who beat Carlisle 6-0 at
Anfield last night to progress to the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup.
The last (and only) time Liverpool won the competition Michael Owen and
Jamie Carragher were both involved. If you’d like to see some
highlights, including an interview with Academy boss Steve Heighway,
visit the FA’s website – which may be a little busy today in light of the Wembley news.