(WFI) English FA chairman David Bernstein is “delighted” Wembley Stadium has been chosen by UEFA to host the Champions League final in 2013 to mark the federation’s 150th anniversary.
It will be Wembley’s second final in the space of just two years following this year’s Barcelona clash with Manchester United.
The UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Nyon today also confirmed that the UEFA Congress will be held in London in the days leading up to the 2013 final.
“UEFA viewed the 2011 Champions League Final at Wembley as a major success and today they have paid us the ultimate compliment by announcing that they will return to our national stadium in 2013, the year of The FA’s 150th anniversary,” Bernstein said in a statement.
“It will be a major celebration of football in this country during a landmark year for our organisation and is an acknowledgment of Wembley’s status as one of the very best football stadiums in the world.”
UEFA’s announcement was widely expected.
Record ticket and commercial revenues from the May 28 Champions league final between Barcelona and Manchester United helped persuade UEFA to bring the European Cup final back to the British capital.
UEFA was also impressed with Wembley’s organisation of the match.
“There are always many candidates for the Champions League final and the Congress but this is to mark the special year of the English FA,” Platini was quoted by the Press Association.
Earlier this year, Platini was criticised for setting the ticket prices too high. The cheapest general admission seats cost £150 ($242) plus a £26 administration fee – 13 per cent more than for the 2009 final at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu. The cheapest adult-child combined ticket cost £338.
The Frenchman apologised, saying the pricing plan had been “a mistake” and pledged to create a cheaper ticket package for families at future finals.
Platini will now be expected to deliver on that promise or face further criticism.
Wembley Stadium chairman Melvin Benn described it as an “honour” for the iconic venue to be awarded the event that is watched by millions around the world.
“It was always our aim to deliver the best ever Champions League final in May to maximise our chances of getting it back,” he said. “The fact that this announcement has come so soon after the success of the 2011 final shows just how impressed UEFA was with our stadium and with our team.”
The 2013 showpiece will be Wembley Stadium’s seventh European Cup final; the others were in 1963, 1968, 1971, 1978, 1992 and last month when Barca beat United 3-1.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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