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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Barwick: No guarantee Wembley will host Cup Final

MANCHESTER, England, Feb 7 (Reuters) - There is no guarantee that Wembley Stadium will host this season's FA Cup final, the FA's chief executive Brian Barwick said on Wednesday.

The much-delayed rebuilt stadium, which has cost over 750 million pounds, is due to host English soccer's showcase event on May 19 and end the England team's tour of provincial grounds which has been going on since the old stadium closed in 2000.

But Barwick struck a note of caution in his programme notes for England's friendly against Spain at Old Trafford.

'This could well be England's last home game before returning to the newly-built Wembley Stadium,' Barwick wrote, adding he was constantly being asked when it would be ready.

'At the time of writing, we are on track to host this year's FA Cup final at Wembley but this is still dependent on the final building issues being completed and a number of 'ramp-up' events behind held successfully beforehand.

'Following these test days, full health and safety licences must be granted by the local authorities in good time for May 19.'

Wembley will be worth the wait, though, according to Barwick, who wrote a day after having attended an evening function at the stadium.

'The arch was lit up, the floodlights bathed the pitch and the sound system was cranked up to full volume. Quite frankly, the stadium looked and sounded fantastic,' he said.

All being well, Barwick said, England would make their debut at the Wembley with a friendly in late May 'against significant opposition' -- with British media tipping Brazil or Argentina.

The last match played in the old stadium was in October 2000 when England lost 1-0 to Germany.