Wembley Stadium (or simply Wembley) is a football stadium located in Wembley, north west London, which opened in 2007 on the site of the old Wembley stadium. The 90,000 capacity venue is second largest stadium in Europe, and serves as England's national stadium. It is the home venue of the England national football team, and hosts the latter stages of the top level domestic club cup competition, the FA Cup. It is owned by English football's governing body, the Football Association (The FA) through their subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL). The old Wembley stadium, which opened in 1923 as the Empire Stadium, often referred to as "The Home of Football", was one of the world's most famous football stadiums until its demolition in 2003.
Designed by Foster and Partners and Populous, the new Wembley is the largest and tallest stadium in the world, and includes a partially retractable roof. A signature feature of the stadium, following on from the the old Wembley's distinctive Twin Towers, is the 134 metres (440 ft) high Wembley Arch. With a span of 317 metres (1,040 ft), this steel arch is the longest single span roof structure in the world. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million. The old Wembley closed in October 2000, with demolition originally intended for that December and the new stadium due to open in 2003. After delays to the project, the old Wembley was not completely demolished until 2003, with the new stadium scheduled to open in time for the 2006 FA Cup Final. After further delays, the stadium was delivered nearly a year late, leading to legal disputes between WNSL and Multiplex, who ultimately made a significant loss on the project. The stadium was handed over on 9 March 2007, in time to host the 2007 FA Cup Final.
In international football, the stadium is a central component of the English 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bids. In 2012 it will also host the football finals of the London Olympics. In club football, the stadium also hosts the showpiece season opening game the FA Community Shield match, played in August between the winners of the FA Cup and the top-level Premier League. In February, it also hosts the final of the England's other top level cup tournament, the Football League Trophy. At the end of the domestic season the stadium also hosts the latter stages of the Football League play-offs. In European football, it is due to host the 2011 Champions League Final. In friendly tournaments, since 2009 it has been the venue of the summer Wembley Cup. Outside of football, the stadium also hosts major rugby games, such as the Rugby League Challenge Cup. The stadium is also an annual regular season venue for the American National Football League's International Series, the first such venue outside North America. Non-sporting uses include large concerts by artists such as U2 and Madonna, as well as hosting in July 2007 the Concert for Diana and Live Earth.
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