Football: Wembley may still host Euro build-up

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND'S QUALIFYING games for Euro 2000 against Sweden and Luxembourg may still go ahead at Wembley next year - even if redevelopment work on the stadium begins as scheduled after the FA Cup final.

It was originally suggested that the Cup final on 22 May or an international friendly played soon afterwards would be the final game at Wembley before building work would get underway. Although a final decision has yet to be taken, it now seems likely that the qualifying games against Sweden on 5 June and Luxembourg on 4 September will still be held at Wembley.

The possibility arises from the fact that there is much preparation work that can be done between May and September while still keeping the stadium open for business.

Officials at the English National Stadium Development Company confirmed that various matters, including planning consent and financing, still have to be addressed before final dates can be decided.

However, the English Sports Council, who are set to provide pounds 120m Lottery money for the pounds 320m project, believe that process may only take a few more weeks to be resolved. A spokeswoman said: "Redevelopment work will start some time between the summer and autumn of next year.

"But it will take some time to prepare the site before the bulldozers arrive and much of that exterior preparation work could start while games are still being played at Wembley."