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Wembley axed for FA Cup final

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Multiplex, the Australian company responsible for building the new Wembley Stadium, has announced that Wembley will not be ready to host this year's FA Cup final.

In a statement released to the Australian stock exchange, the company said that the Football Association (FA) required "100 per cent certainty that the venue will be fully functional by 13 May 2006."

The statement added: "While disappointed with the decision, Multiplex continues to work towards targeting completion at the earliest possible date."

The decision is believed to have been prompted by an inspection visit on Monday by FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, the stadium's chief executive Michael Cunnah and Martin Tidd, Multiplex's chief executive.

While disappointing and embarrassing for both the FA and Multiplex, the announcement is far from surprising. In recent months, the chances of meeting the FA's deadline – which includes the time to stage two test events to secure a licence from Brent Council – have grown increasingly slight.

Multiplex has already announced losses of around £75m on the project, and could now be subject to further penalty payments. An official statement from the FA is expected later today.

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Multiplex, the Australian company responsible for building the new Wembley Stadium, has announced that Wembley will not be ready to host this year's FA Cup final.
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