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SBD Global/June 18, 2014/Facilities

FA Plans To Transform London's Wembley To Make It 'True Home' For England

The FA hopes changes to Wembley will begin before the start of Euro 2016.
The FA "is to revamp" London's Wembley stadium, making it more of a ''home for England'' with banners "celebrating 1966, memorable matches and famous players akin to how Arsenal have transformed the Emirates Stadium," according to Henry Winter of the London TELEGRAPH. The FA "has ruled out a return to spectators standing at Wembley but there will be a new 'home' end, a family area and groups of fans will be invited to meet England legends before kick-off at Wembley." The FA "will also provide a new 'second-screen experience' for those England fans who live too far from Wembley, providing exclusive footage via iPad and mobile to be accessed alongside the live TV broadcast." These developments will start in time for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign kicking off in September. None of it is "dependent on England having a strong World Cup although clearly the FA would like an upbeat feelgood factor at Wembley." Wembley Commercial Dir Stuart Turner said, "We want them to do well, but more than anything as fans -- which is what we all are at the FA -- we just want them to give it a go. They didn’t in 2010." He added, "I hate using this word in football, but England doing badly affects the FA as a 'brand.' It did in 2010. We were toxic after 2010, and I don’t use that word inadvisedly. We were toxic. Nobody wanted to touch us. We all sat down at the FA and said we can’t let that continue." He concluded, "One of those reasons is clearly commercial. Now all the commercial partners have all signed up again for increased numbers; the England program 2010-2014 was worth about £145 million and we’ve got £165 million now for 2014-18. If we have a reasonable World Cup we might be able to enhance that even further" (TELEGRAPH, 6/16).
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