FA opts for Cardiff final

Football Association chief executive Adam Crozier last night revealed that Cardiff was the only venue capable of replacing Wembley for the FA Cup final and Charity Shield for the next three years.

Manchester United’s Old Trafford and Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby, had been mentioned, but Crozier said: "The final needs to be held at a special place and I’ve no doubts that Cardiff is the right place. We had alternatives but we couldn’t go to a club ground in England just in case that club reached the final. Murrayfield was never really an option."

With Wembley being rebuilt, the next three FA Cup finals and three FA Charity Shields will be staged at the Millennium Stadium. The Football League has also agreed to stage its five annual showpiece finals at the Welsh national stadium.

The Worthington Cup final will be the first event to be staged there on 25 February. The Nationwide League play-off finals and the LDV Vans Trophy final will also be played there.

Football League chief executive David Burns said: "The stadium was always our first choice. I am absolutely certain it will provide a first-class venue for our games."

First match up, however is the Six Nations clash between Wales and England on 3 February. Work on laying a new pitch started yesterday and is expected to last ten days.