The Football Association insist they will give Wembley’s builders Multiplex until the last possible minute to try to complete the stadium in time for this year’s FA Cup final.
There were reports today that a decision to stage the final on May 13 in Cardiff has already been taken.
Although that is looking an increasingly likely prospect, the FA are adamant that no final decision has been taken.
FA communications director Adrian Bevington said: “Nothing has been decided. We are still liaising very closely on a daily basis with our colleagues at Wembley National Stadium Limited and through them Multiplex.
“Of course Cardiff is booked, which was a prudent step as a back-up. The critical path originally was for the stadium to be handed over in the autumn of 2005, then it was extended to January 31, 2006 and has now been extended until March 31.
“We are giving Multiplex every chance to conclude the stadium build in time for this year’s FA Cup final.
“But wherever the cup final is staged this year Wembley stadium will be a fantastic world stage for many, many years and cup finals in the future.”
It is also in Multiplex’s interests to finish work as soon as possible – they are expected to lose more than £100m (€145.6m) on building the £757m (€1.1bn) stadium and will be penalised £1m (€1.5m) a week for over-running the deadline.
Even if they do complete construction by March 31, however, that would not guarantee the final being at Wembley.
The new stadium would still need to train up hundreds of staff, and satisfy safety officials it would be able to stage the final in such a short space of time.
Multiplex admitted last month that there was only a 70% chance of Wembley being built in time to stage this year’s cup final.