|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
|The Venue of Legends, New Wembley|
View from Royal Route
|Owner||The Football Association|
|Operator||Wembley National Stadium Limited|
|Capacity||90,000 (Association football, rugby league, rugby union)
86,000 (American football)
75,000 to 90,000 seated and 15,000 standing (concerts)
60,000 to 72,000 (athletics)
|Record attendance||89,874 (Portsmouth-Cardiff City, 17 May 2008)|
|Field size||105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yd)|
|Broke ground||30 September 2002|
|Opened||9 March 2007|
|Construction cost||GBP £757 million (2007)
(£916 million in 2014 sterling)
|Architect||HOK Sport (Populous since 2009), Foster and Partners, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (planning consultants)|
|Structural engineer||Mott Stadium Consortium - Mott MacDonald, Sinclair Knight & Merz & Aurecon|
|Services engineer||Mott MacDonald|
|General contractor||Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd|
Wembley Stadium (currently known officially as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for commercial sponsorship reasons) is an association football stadium in Wembley Park, London, England. It opened in 2007 and was built on the site of the earlier Wembley Stadium which was demolished in 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches such as the FA Cup Final and home matches of the England national football team.
Wembley Stadium is a UEFA category four stadium. With 90,000 seats it is the second largest stadium in Europe and the largest stadium in the United Kingdom. It is owned by The Football Association through their subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL).
Designed by HOK Sport (known as Populous since 2009) and Foster and Partners, it includes a partially retractable roof and the 134-metre-high (440 ft) Wembley Arch. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million.
In club association football, in addition to the FA Cup the stadium hosts the season-opening FA Community Shield match, the finals of the Football League Cup, the Football League Trophy and the Football League play-offs. In European football, it hosted the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League Final. The stadium also hosts the rugby league Challenge Cup Final, the National Football League's International Series and music concerts.
- 1 Stadium
- 2 Tenants
- 3 Music
- 4 Firsts at the new Wembley Stadium
- 5 Transport connections
- 6 In the media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Wembley was designed by architects Foster + Partners and Populous (known as HOK Sport at the time of the design phase and construction) and with engineers Mott Stadium Consortium, who were a collection of three structural engineering consultants in the form of Mott MacDonald Ltd, Sinclair Knight & Merz and Aurecon. The design of the building services was carried out by Mott MacDonald Ltd. The construction of the stadium was managed by Australian company Brookfield Multiplex and funded by Sport England, WNSL (Wembley National Stadium Limited), the Football Association, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the London Development Agency. It is one of the most expensive stadia ever built at a cost of £798 million (After the MetLife Stadium) and has the largest roof-covered seating capacity in the world. Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners was appointed to assist Wembley National Stadium Limited in preparing the scheme for a new stadium and to obtain planning and listed building permission for the development.
The all-seater stadium is based around a bowl design with a capacity of 90,000, protected from the elements by a sliding roof that does not completely enclose it. It can also be adapted as an athletic stadium by erecting a temporary platform over the lowest tier of seating. The stadium's signature feature is a circular section lattice arch of 7 m (23 ft) internal diameter with a 315 m (1,033 ft) span, erected some 22° off true, and rising to 133 m (436 ft). It supports all the weight of the north roof and 60% of the weight of the retractable roof on the southern side. The archway is the world's longest unsupported roof structure.
A "platform system" has been designed to convert the stadium for athletics use, but its use would decrease the stadium's capacity to approximately 60,000. No athletics events (track and field) have taken place at the stadium, and none are scheduled.  The conversion for athletics use was a condition of part of the lottery funding the stadium received, but to convert it would take weeks of work and cost millions of pounds.
The initial plan for the reconstruction of Wembley was for demolition to begin before Christmas 2000, and for the new stadium to be completed some time during 2003, but this work was delayed by a succession of financial and legal difficulties. In 2004, the London Mayor and Brent Council also announced wider plans for the regeneration of Wembley, taking in the arena and the surrounding areas as well as the stadium, to be implemented over two or three decades.
Delays to the construction project started as far back as 2003. In December 2003, the constructors of the arch, subcontractors Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company of Darlington, warned Multiplex about rising costs and a delay on the steel job of almost a year due to Multiplex design changes which Multiplex rejected[clarification needed]. Cleveland Bridge withdrew from the project and replaced by Dutch firm Hollandia with all the attendant problems of starting over. 2004 also saw errors, most notably a fatal accident involving carpenter Patrick O'Sullivan for which construction firm PC Harrington Contractors were fined £150,000 in relation to breaches of health and safety laws.
In October 2005, Sports Minister Richard Caborn announced: "They say the Cup Final will be there, barring six feet of snow or something like that". By November 2005, WNSL were still hopeful of a handover date of 31 March, in time for the cup final on 13 May. However in December 2005, the builders admitted that there was a "material risk" that the stadium might not be ready in time for the final. In February 2006 these worries were confirmed, with the FA moving the game to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
On 20 March 2006, a steel rafter in the roof of the new development fell by a foot and a half, forcing 3,000 workers to evacuate the stadium and raising further doubts over the completion date which was already behind schedule. On 23 March 2006, sewers beneath the stadium buckled due to ground movement. GMB Union leader Steve Kelly said that the problem had been caused by the pipes not being properly laid, and that the repair would take months. Rumours circulated that the reason for the blockage was due to Multiplex failing to pay the contractors who laid the pipes who then filled in the pipes with concrete. A spokesman for developers Multiplex said that they did not believe this would "have any impact on the completion of the stadium", which was then scheduled to be completed on 31 March 2006.
On 30 March 2006, the developers announced that Wembley Stadium would not be ready until 2007. All competitions and concerts planned were to be moved to suitable locations. On 19 June 2006 it was announced that the turf had been laid. On 19 October 2006 it was announced that the venue was now set to open in early 2007 after the dispute between The Football Association and Multiplex had finally been settled. WNSL was expected to pay around £36m to Multiplex, on top of the amount of the original fixed-price contract. The total cost of the project (including local transport infrastructure redevelopment and the cost of financing) was estimated to be £1 billion (roughly US$2 billion).
For the new stadium the level of the pitch was lowered. During excavation of the new playing field, mechanical diggers unearthed a buried obstruction: the concrete foundations of Watkin's Tower, a failed attempt to construct a rival to the Eiffel Tower in London. Only base of the tower was ever built before being abandoned and demolished in 1907; the site was later used as the location for the first Wembley Stadium.
Handover and opening
The new stadium was completed and handed over to the FA on 9 March 2007. The official Wembley Stadium website had announced that the stadium would be open for public viewing for local residents of Brent on 3 March 2007, however this was delayed by two weeks and instead happened on 17 March.
While the stadium had hosted football matches since the handover in March, the stadium was officially opened on Saturday 19 May, with the staging of the 2007 FA Cup Final. Eight days before that on Friday 11 May, the statue of Bobby Moore had been unveiled by Sir Bobby Charlton outside the stadium entrance, as the "finishing touch" to the completion of the stadium. The twice life-size bronze statue, sculpted by Philip Jackson, depicts England's 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, looking down Olympic Way.
- The stadium contains 2,618 toilets, more than any other venue in the world.
- The stadium has a circumference of 1 km (0.62 mi).
- The bowl volume is listed at 1,139,100 m3, somewhat smaller than the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but with a greater seating capacity.
- At its peak, there were more than 3,500 construction workers on site.
- 4,000 separate piles form the foundations of the new stadium, the deepest of which is 35 m (115 ft).
- There are 56 km (35 mi) of heavy-duty power cables in the stadium.
- 90,000 m3 (120,000 yd3) of concrete and 23,000 tonnes (25,000 short tons) of steel were used in the construction of the new stadium.
- The total length of the escalators is 400 m (¼ mi).
- The Wembley Arch has a cross-sectional diameter greater than that of a cross-channel Eurostar train.
The new pitch is 13 ft (4.0 m) lower than the previous pitch. The pitch size, as lined for association football, is 115 yd (105 m) long by 75 yd (69 m) wide, slightly narrower than the old Wembley, as required by the UEFA stadium categories for a category four stadium, the top category.
Since the completion of the new Wembley, the pitch has come into disrepute since it was described as being "no good" and "not in the condition that Wembley used to be known for" by Slaven Bilić before the game between England and the team he managed, Croatia. It was confirmed when the pitch was terribly cut up during the game, which was blamed by some as the reason England did not qualify for UEFA Euro 2008. The Football Association admitted in April 2009 after the FA Cup semi-finals that improvements are needed to the Wembley pitch after criticism of the surface by Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and David Moyes. The grass has been relaid ten times since the stadium re-opened in 2007 and was relaid again in the summer of 2009, ahead of the 2009 Community Shield.
In March 2010, the surface was relaid for the 10th time since 2007, when the stadium was built. In April 2010, the pitch was again criticised following the FA Cup semi-finals, during which the players found it difficult to keep their footing and the surface cut up despite the dry conditions. The then Tottenham Hotspur boss, Harry Redknapp labelled it a "disgrace" after his side's semi-final defeat to Portsmouth. After the 2010 FA Cup Final, Chelsea captain John Terry said, "The pitch ruined the final. It’s probably the worst pitch we’ve played on all year. It was not good enough for a Wembley pitch." It was relaid with Desso semi-artificial pitch, ahead of the 2010 community shield game between Chelsea and Manchester United. Michael Owen, who previously criticized the pitch for causing him injury, said that it was much improved.
The stadium roof has an area of 40,000 m2, of which 13,722 m2 is movable. The primary reason for the sliding roof was to avoid shading the pitch, as grass demands direct sunlight to grow effectively. The sliding roof design minimises the shadow by having the roof pulled back on the east, west and south. Angus Campbell, chief architect, also said that an aim was for the pitch to be in sunlight during the match between the beginning of May and the end of June, between 3 pm and 5 pm, which is when the FA and World cups would be played. However it was mentioned during live commentary of the FA Cup Final in 2007 that the pitch was in partial shade at the start at 3 pm and also during the match.
The stadium roof rises to 52 metres above the pitch and is supported by an arch rising 133 metres above the level of the external concourse. With a span of 315 metres, the arch is the longest single span roof structure in the world.
The Australian firm Multiplex, which was the main contractor on Wembley Stadium, made significant losses on the project. In an attempt to recoup some of those losses, the firm has initiated a number of legal cases against its sub-contractors and consultants. The largest of these – the largest construction claim in UK legal history – was a claim for £253 million against the structural engineering consultants Mott MacDonald. In preliminary hearings the two architecture practices which worked for Multiplex on the project were ordered to allow Multiplex access to their records in order for them to build a case. The practices, Foster + Partners and Populous, estimated the costs of providing access and answering Multiplex's queries at £5 million. The case was not due to be heard until January 2011. Mott MacDonald has issued a counter-claim for unpaid fees of £250,000. The dispute between Multiplex (now known as Brookfield) and Mott MacDonald was settled out of court in June 2010, the judge having warned that costs were likely to be more than £74 million.
Multiplex also took the original steel contractor, Cleveland Bridge, to court in order to claim up to £38 million compensation for costs resulting from Cleveland Bridge walking away from the job. Cleveland Bridge, in turn, claimed up to £15 million from Multiplex. The case was finally resolved in September 2008 with Cleveland Bridge ordered to pay £6.1 million in damages and 20% of Multiplex's costs after the court found Cleveland Bridge was in the wrong to walk off site. The judge criticised both sides for allowing the case to reach court, pointing out that total costs were £22 million, including £1 million for photocopying. Multiplex's ultimate bill is estimated to be over £10 million.
Multiplex is also contesting a claim from its concrete contractor, PC Harrington, that Multiplex owes £13.4 million to PC Harrington.
The English national football team is a major user of Wembley Stadium. Given the ownership by The Football Association as of 10 March 2007, the League Cup final moved back to Wembley from Cardiff following the FA Cup final and FA Community Shield. Other showpiece football matches that were previously staged at Wembley, such as the Football League promotion play-offs and the Football League Trophy final, have returned to the stadium, as has the Football Conference play-off final. Additionally, the Rugby League Challenge Cup final returned to Wembley Stadium in 2007. The new Wembley was a significant part of the plan for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London; the stadium was the site of several games in both the men's and women's football tournaments, with the finals being held there. Additionally, Wembley is one of the 13 2015 Rugby World Cup venues.
Wembley has had a long association with American Football. A United States Football League game was staged there in 1984, and between 1986 and 1993 the old Wembley stadium hosted eight National Football League exhibition games featuring 13 different NFL teams. Since the new Wembley Stadium opened in 2007 Wembley has hosted games during the NFL regular season. As a result of this, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated in October 2009 that "he expects the NFL will start playing multiple regular-season games in Britain in the next few years, an expansion that could lead to putting a franchise in London." On 20 January 2012, the league announced that the St. Louis Rams would become a temporary tenant of Wembley Stadium, playing an annual game at the stadium every year from 2012 to 2014; part of the reason the Rams were chosen was the fact that the team is owned by Stan Kroenke, who also is majority shareholder in a local Premier League team, Arsenal. However, the Rams later cancelled their 2013-2014 games, leading to the Jacksonville Jaguars becoming new temporary tenants and hosting games in London from 2013-2016.
Football matches at Wembley
Besides football, Wembley can be configured to hold many other events, particularly major concerts but also private events like weddings and conferences. This is an economic necessity given that the stadium ended up costing the FA much more than was originally projected. The regular covering of the pitch for concerts has led to the pitch being relaid often (see elsewhere in this article). Regular changes to the pitch mean that it never matches the quality of its surroundings, or of the pitch of the old Wembley in its later years.
The first concert at the new stadium was given by George Michael on 9 June 2007. Bon Jovi were scheduled to be the first artists to perform at the new Wembley but the late completion of the stadium saw the concerts relocated to the National Bowl and the KC Stadium.
Wembley Stadium hosted Take That Present: The Circus Live for 4 nights in summer 2009. The tour became the fastest selling tour in UK in history before that record was broken by Take That two years later with their Progress Live tour.
Two large charity concerts have been held at the new Wembley stadium, the Concert for Diana, a memorial concert to commemorate ten years after the death of Princess Diana, and Live Earth, a concert hosted at Wembley as part of the Live Earth Foundation, committed to combating climate change.
95.8 Capital FM's Summertime Ball, which was previously hosted with 55,000 spectators at the Arsenal Emirates Stadium and slightly less in Hyde Park (as Party in the Park), was hosted at Wembley Stadium on 6 June 2010, and was headlined by Rihanna and Usher. The move to Wembley allowed many more fans to watch the annual music event which has previously lasted over 5 hours with more than 15 performers. It is thought to be the biggest commercial music event held at the stadium. It has since returned to the Stadium in 2011, 2012, 2013 and again in 2014 on 21 June.
Las Vegas band The Killers played their largest-ever sold out audience of 80,000 on 22 June 2013. They performed a song specially written for the Wembley Stadium: The Wembley Song. Brandon Flowers, lead singer for The Killers said “We’ve written a song for this joyous occasion.” And proceeded to sing about some of Wembley’s great moments, it’s history from the Twin Towers to present day arch.
Madonna played Wembley in 2008 during her Sticky and Sweet Tour, to a sold-out audience of 74,000. The event has surpassed all gross revenue for a single concert at Wembley, grossing nearly $12 million USD.
Take That played a record breaking 8 nights at Wembley Stadium in summer 2011 on their Progress Live tour, which has become the fastest and biggest selling tour in UK history. 623,737 people attended the 8 shows at the stadium.
The Olympics meant that no concerts took place at Wembley in summer 2012, with other big shows taking place elsewhere. In summer 2013, there will be seven big shows. The first act to perform at the venue will be Bruce Springsteen, who will be playing his first show at the new stadium on 15 June. One week later, American rock band The Killers will perform their biggest headline show at the venue on 22 June. Robbie Williams will then be performing four solo concerts at the stadium on 29 and 30 June, and on 2 and 5 July after previously performing with Take That at the stadium in 2011. The summer's final show saw former Pink Floyd bass guitarist Roger Waters play at the venue on 14 September as part of The Wall Live tour.
|List of concerts|
|Year||Date||Main act(s)||Opening act(s)||Tour / Concert name||Tickets
|2007||9 June||George Michael||—||25 Live||172,458|
|16 June||Muse||The Streets, Dirty Pretty Things, Rodrigo y Gabriela||Black Holes and Revelations Tour||180,000||HAARP CD released.|
|17 June||My Chemical Romance, Biffy Clyro, Shy Child||HAARP DVD released.|
|1 July||Elton John, Take That, Rod Stewart, Kanye West, Duran Duran and others||Concert for Diana||N/A||A concert in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales, broadcast internationally and then released on DVD/Blu-ray.|
|7 July||Madonna, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica and others||Live Earth||N/A||One of the Live Earth benefit concerts held to combat global warming.|
|8 July||Metallica||HIM, Machine Head, Mastodon||Sick of the Studio '07||N/A|
|2008||6 June||Foo Fighters||—||—||N/A||Live at Wembley Stadium DVD released.|
|11 September||Madonna||Paul Oakenfold||Sticky & Sweet Tour||73,349|
|2009||26 June||AC/DC||The Subways, The Answer||Black Ice World Tour||N/A|
|1 July||Take That||Gary Go, James Morrison||The Circus Live||N/A|
|3 July||Gary Go, The Script||The Greatest Day – Take That Present: The Circus Live DVD/CD released.|
|4 July||Gary Go, Lady Gaga|
|9 July||Oasis||Kasabian, The Enemy, Reverend and The Makers||Dig Out Your Soul Tour||N/A|
|14 August||U2||Elbow, The Hours||U2 360° Tour||164,244|
|15 August||Glasvegas, The Hours|
|18 September||Coldplay||Jay-Z, Girls Aloud, White Lies||Viva la Vida Tour||N/A|
|2010||6 June||Rihanna, Usher, Justin Bieber, Cheryl Cole, JLS, Kesha, Dizzee Rascal and others||Summertime Ball 2010||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|19 June||Green Day||Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Frank Turner||21st Century Breakdown World Tour||N/A|
|10 September||Muse||Lily Allen, The Big Pink, White Rabbits||Resistance Tour||N/A|
|11 September||Biffy Clyro, White Lies, I Am Arrows|
|2011||12 June||Jennifer Lopez, JLS, Jessie J, Enrique Iglesias, Nicole Scherzinger and others||Summertime Ball 2011||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|30 June||Take That||Pet Shop Boys||Progress Live||623,737|
|2012||9 June||Katy Perry, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Jessie J, Usher, The Wanted and others||Summertime Ball 2012||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|2013||9 June||Robbie Williams, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, Olly Murs and others||Summertime Ball 2013||N/A||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
|15 June||Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band||—||Wrecking Ball World Tour||70,425|
|22 June||The Killers||James, The Gaslight Anthem||Battle Born World Tour||N/A|
|29 June||Robbie Williams||Olly Murs||Take the Crown Stadium Tour||263,288|
|14 September||Roger Waters||—||The Wall Live||57,803|
|2014||6 June||One Direction||Where We Are Tour||236,566|
|21 June||Miley Cyrus and others||Summertime Ball 2014||Festival organised by Capital FM.|
- On 16–17 June 2007, Muse became the first artist to sell out the new Wembley Stadium with a crowd of 180,000 fans in two nights.
- On 11 September 2008, Madonna performed to a sell-out crowd of over 74,000 fans and a gross of over US$12 million and surpassed all previous grosses at both the old and the new Wembley Stadia.
- U2 performed to a record 82,000 fans each night on 14 and 15 August 2009. The U2 360° Tour stage was designed to cater for fans positioned behind the stage.
- Eminem became the first rapper to headline at Wembley Stadium performing to a record 90,000 fans each night 11 and 12 July 2014.
- One Direction performed at the staduim as part of their Where We Are Tour on June 7th, 8th and 9th 2014
Firsts at the new Wembley Stadium
The first match at the stadium was a game played behind closed doors between Multiplex and Wembley Stadium staff. The first game in front of spectators was between the Geoff Thomas Foundation Charity XI and the Wembley Sponsors Allstars on 17 March 2007. The Geoff Thomas Foundation Charity XI won 2–0 (scorers Mark Bright and Simon Jordan). The first official match involving professional players was England U21s vs Italy U21s on 24 March 2007, which finished 3–3. Official attendance was 55,700 (although all of the 60,000 tickets that were made available were sold in advance). The first player to score in a FIFA sanctioned match was Italian striker Giampaolo Pazzini after 28 seconds of the same game. Pazzini went on to score twice more in the second half of the match making him the first person to score a hat-trick at Wembley Stadium since Paul Scholes for England in 2000 against Poland in Kevin Keegan's first game in charge. The first English player to score in a full-scale match was David Bentley with a free kick in the same game.
The first club game, competitive game, and cup final held at the new Wembley took place on 12 May 2007 when Kidderminster Harriers met Stevenage Borough in the FA Trophy final. Kidderminster striker James Constable was the first player to score a goal in a final at the new Wembley. Kidderminster became the first team to play at both the old and new stadium. Stevenage Borough were the first team to win a final at the new Wembley beating Kidderminster 3–2, despite trailing 2–0 at half time. The first players to play at both the old and new Wembley stadia were Steve Guppy (for Stevenage Borough) and Jeff Kenna (for Kidderminster Harriers). Ex-England international Guppy was the first player to win a final at both stadia (with Leicester City, Wycombe Wanderers and Stevenage). Ronnie Henry was the first ever player to lift a competitive club trophy at the new Wembley.
The first penalty save and first red card came in the Conference National playoff final between Exeter City and Morecambe. The penalty was saved by Paul Jones of Exeter City from Morecambe striker Wayne Curtis. The red card was given to Matthew Gill of Exeter for a headbutt on Craig Stanley of Morecambe.
The first Football League teams to play at Wembley in a competitive fixture were Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury Town in the 2007 Football League Two play-off Final on 26 May 2007. Shrewsbury Town became the first league team to score at Wembley and also the first league team to have a player sent off. Bristol Rovers won the game 3–1 in front of 61,589 which was a stadium record until the Championship play-off final two days later when Derby County beat West Bromwich Albion 1–0 to become the first team at the new stadium to win promotion to the FA Premier League.
The first FA Cup Final at the new Wembley (between Manchester United and Chelsea) was on 19 May 2007. Chelsea won 1–0 with a goal by Didier Drogba, making him the first player to score in the FA Cup final at the new Wembley. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech also became the first goalkeeper not to concede a goal in a competitive game at Wembley. Chelsea were the last winners of the cup final at the old Wembley and the first winners at the new.
The first game involving the full English national team was a friendly played on 1 June 2007, against Brazil. The match saw captain John Terry become the first England international goal scorer at the new stadium when he scored in the 68th minute. Diego became the first full international player to score for a visiting team when he scored in stoppage time, with the full-time result being a 1–1 draw. The first competitive senior international was played on 8 September 2007 between England and Israel. This game ended 3–0. The first player to score international goals at both the old and new stadia was Michael Owen when he scored for England against Israel. On 22 August Germany beat England 2–1 to become the first team to beat them in the new Wembley Stadium. England's first competitive defeat at the new stadium was on 21 November 2007 when Croatia won 3–2. This match cost England qualification to Euro 2008 and head coach Steve McClaren his job.
Celtic were the first Scottish team to win a trophy at the new Wembley. Competing in the first year of the Wembley Cup in July 2009, against English side Tottenham, Egyptian side Al-Ahly and the 2009 European Champions, Barcelona.
Wembley Stadium hosted the UEFA Champions League Final on 28 May 2011 between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. Wembley also hosted the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, making it the second time in 3 years. The event was held to mark the 150th anniversary of The Football Association.
During the 2012 Olympic Games Great Britain defeated Brazil in the first women's international to take place at the stadium. On the 23rd November the England women's team will play at the stadium for the first time when they play Germany in a friendly.
The Rugby league Challenge Cup Final had been played annually at the old Wembley Stadium since 1929, when Wigan were the victors. In 2007 the cup final returned to its traditional home after the re-building of Wembley. When Catalans Dragons played St Helens in the 2007 Challenge Cup Final, they became the first non-English rugby league team to play in the final. The result saw St Helens retain the cup by a score of 30–8. The first Rugby League team to win a game at the new Wembley Stadium, were Normanton Freeston. The West Yorkshire secondary school beat Castleford High School in the Year 7 boys Carnegie Champion Schools final, which was played immediately prior to the 2007 Challenge Cup Final. The first official try at the renovated Wembley was scored by James Roby of St Helens, although Luke Metcalfe of Castleford High School scored the first try in the schools game that took place before the 2007 Challenge Cup final.
In 2011, International rugby league returned to Wembley for the first time since 1997 when Wales lost to New Zealand 0-36 and Australia beat host nation England 36-20 in the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations. The semi finals of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup were played at Wembley Stadium where defending champions New Zealand piped England 20-18, and eventual tournament champions Australia thrashed Fiji 64-0. The double header drew 67,575 fans to Wembley, the second highest international crowd at either the original or the new stadium.
Castleford Academy (formerly Castleford High School) currently hold the record for the most Rugby League appearances at the New Wembley Stadium. On 24 August 2013 their Year 7 Rugby team played RGS High Wycombe in the annual schools curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup final. This was Castleford Academy's 4th appearance at the stadium since 2007. This puts them one appearance ahead of Leeds and Warrington (3).
The first top level rugby union match was a non-cap match between the Barbarians and Australia on 3 December 2008. Since 2009, the stadium has been used regularly by Saracens for some major Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup and International matches. Their Aviva Premiership clash with Harlequins in 2012 was played before a crowd of 83,761, a world record for a rugby club match. In 2014 the teams faced again in front of 83,889 spectators.
The stadium will also be used during the 2015 Rugby World Cup where it will host two pool matches:
|2015||Pool C Match||New Zealand||–||Argentina|
|Pool D Match||Ireland||–||Romania|
Although the 90,000 seat Wembley will be the largest stadium used during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the World Cup Final will be held at the 82,000 seat Twickenham Stadium, the traditional home of the tournament's host, England's Rugby Football Union.
On 28 October 2007, in front of 81,176 fans, the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins by a score of 13–10 in the first regular season NFL game ever to be played in Europe, and the first outside of North America. The first touchdown scored at Wembley was on a run by Giants' quarterback Eli Manning. The NFL have hosted at least one regular season game a year at Wembley since.
On 21 August 2012 the Jacksonville Jaguars announced a four year deal to become temporary tenants of Wembley by playing one regular season game each year between 2013 and 2016 and becoming the first team to return to Wembley in consecutive years
On 16 October 2012 the NFL announced there was to be two NFL regular season games played at Wembley Stadium during the 2013 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings on 29 September 2013 and the San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars on 27 October 2013. This is an attempt by the NFL to strengthen the NFL fanbase in London and internationally. Future plans to have a permanent NFL team in London may come to fruition considering the coming years of growth.
Another first will be recorded in 2014 as three regular season NFL games are due to be played at Wembley. The Oakland Raiders will host the Miami Dolphins on 28 September at 6 pm BST, the Atlanta Falcons will host the Detroit Lions on 26 October at 1:30 pm GMT and the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Dallas Cowboys on 9 November at 6 pm GMT. At 9:30 am ET, the Detroit-Atlanta game will be the earliest kick off in NFL history and give fans a unique four game window on this day.
On 31 May 2014, Wembley Stadium hosted its first boxing event, featuring the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves for the IBF and WBA super middleweight championships. The contest was held in front of a crowd of 80,000 spectators, a British post-war attendance record for a boxing event, surpassing the crowd at the City of Manchester Stadium when it hosted Ricky Hatton vs. Juan Lazcano in May 2008.
The stadium is described as a "Public Transport Destination". for which parking is available on a very limited basis. In order to alleviate the impact of vehicular traffic on the local residents and businesses, Brent Council have introduced a number of measures in relation to on street parking and to access restrictions of roads that surround the stadium.
The "Wembley Stadium Protective Parking Scheme" sets a boundary in which parking on street is restricted to only those that hold an event day parking permit. The "Wembley Stadium Road Closures". are in force from 10.00am on the event day until midnight and apply to Fulton Road, Engineers Way and South Way.
Rail and Underground
The stadium is connected to two London Underground stations: Wembley Park Station (on the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines) via Olympic Way, and Wembley Central (Bakerloo line) via the White Horse Bridge. Rail links are provided at Wembley Central (London Overground, Southern and London Midland services) and Wembley Stadium railway station (Chiltern Railways services).
Stations near by:
|London Underground||Wembley Park|
|London Overground||Watford DC Line|
|National Rail||Southern Railways|
|Wembley Stadium||Chiltern Railways|
The onsite parking facility is shared with Wembley Arena, essentially being the open air surface parking surrounding the eastern flank of Wembley Stadium and the multi-storey car park. These are called Green Car Park and Red Car Park respectively. There is disabled parking available onsite, at the Green Car Park, at a reduced rate but on a first come first served basis. On some football event dates, opposing team supporters have been separated into the two different car parks.
In the media
London Dreams, a 2009 Bollywood musical film shot one of its scenes at Wembley Stadium in front of an audience estimated at 90,000. A short documentary of the stadium's redevelopment can be found on the Queen Live at Wembley '86 DVD. Although not completed or opened at the time, EA Sports added Wembley Stadium into the video game FIFA 07, and has been adding the stadium to every FIFA title since. The stadium featured in the music videos for Take That's When We Were Young in 2011 and JLS' Proud in 2012.
An episode of 24: Live Another Day ("Day 9: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.") is partly set at Wembley stadium.
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