The massive arch that surmounts Wembley Stadium is to be removed in renovations that are likely to cost upwards of £17 million. The arch, which is the architectural signature of the site, is 133 metres high at its peak, and is constructed from 1750 tonnes of steel. It appears on the stadium's logo and the cost of changing the stationery, signage and promotional materials will add another £4 million to the cost.
The decision has been made after Cristiano Ronaldo complained to Wembley's owners that his mobile phone coverage was affected by the structure. After detailed investigation it was discovered that the arch interferes with the signals from the O2 transmitter nearby.
Rather than just remove the arch, the aim is to replace it with a smaller structure made out of plastic pipework. Initially it was hoped that this could be formed as a replica arch, but the material is not strong enough. Instead it will be a single winding tube similar to the slide in the Barclaycard advert.
When asked what would now happen to the moveable roof panels that are supported by the arch, Wembley management told us that the roof didn't shut anyway so it would just be left fully open from now on.
"With hindsight", they said, "We probably should have had a fully closable roof in the first place, but we didn't expect it to rain or snow in London."