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Volume 6 No. 217


Shortly after the final whistle blew in Sunday's League One playoff final at London's Wembley stadium, staff began "swapping every television set and barrel of beer in the national stadium" to comply with UEFA's sponsorship roster, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. All the Football League's branding "will be ripped out and the Champions League makeover completed," ahead of a final that is "almost as important for the Football Association's coffers and Wembley's image as it is for the German finalists." After either Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich are crowned European champions Saturday, there will be 48 hours "to reverse the operation in time" for the Championship playoff final. Wembley stadium Managing Dir Roger Maslin said, "It's a bit of a helter-skelter." The "unprecedented decision" by UEFA to choose Wembley to host a second final in three years, and a record seventh time in total, "was partly driven by sentiment and partly by cold, hard cash." The large capacity and the ease with which the expensively rebuilt venue can accommodate hospitality, sponsors, media and fans "was also a big draw." Maslin: "Operationally, they see us as a safe pair of hands. It's great for the fans. And commercially, people want to be here, they want to be in London, the sponsors certainly do. We can put the sponsors' village inside the stadium. It's a brilliant venue for them" (GUARDIAN, 5/18).