U.K. stadium will not host events in 2006.
A flurry of concerts will be relocated from London's new Wembley Stadium after constructers confirmed today (March 31) that the flagship U.K. venue will not meet its targets for completion. Performances by the Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams and Take That are among those that will be affected.
Multiplex, the Australian firm contracted to rebuild the stadium in east London, said it anticipates "substantial completion by the end of June" with key outstanding works to run up until the end of September. In order to meet legal safety standards, the venue will undergo tests for a further two months.
As a result of the latest setback, the stadium's owners have conceded that no major events will take place at the stadium for the remainder of this year.
The construction giant had originally planned to finish the project by March 2006 at a cost of £750 million ($1.3 billion). A prospective May opening was subsequently shelved and costs have spiraled.
Wembley Stadium CEO Michael Cunnah today said he shared "everyone's disappointment" on the news, which had been widely expected. "Their revised construction schedule leaves us with no other choice but to make this decision," he said.
The Rolling Stones' concerts, booked for August 20 and 22, will now take place on the same dates at Twickenham Stadium, also in London. Twickenham, widely regarded as the "home of English rugby" hosted a pair of sold out Rolling Stones shows in 2003, and a brace of U2 gigs last summer.
Meanwhile, promoters AEG Live today confirmed that the Bon Jovi tour dates planned for June 10 and 11 at Wembley Stadium will be moved to the Milton Kenyes Bowl, 88 km north east of London.
"Having closed the original Wembley Stadium, it would have been a fitting honor to open the new one," commented frontman Jon Bon Jovi in statement. "However, the most important element was always the live concerts themselves. So while the location may have changed, the celebration will remain the same."
Bon Jovi was the last rock concert to take place at the north London stadium in August 2000 before it closed and the process of gradual demolition began in September 2002.
The new 90,000-capacity stadium is being built on behalf of, and run by, Wembley National Stadium Ltd, a subsidiary of England's Football Association.
Construction on the site has been beset by problems. Recently, a 50 tonne steel roof rafter slipped, leading to the evacuation of 3,000 workers from the site for a day.
Drain and sewer problems, worker strikes and incremental weather has also contributed to delays. Multiplex has had to bear the brunt of the financial losses due to the over-run.