The event design and final branding for the 2011 UEFA Champions League final were unveiled at a ceremony at Wembley Stadium today which marked the latest exciting step on the road to this season's showpiece match in London.
Representatives from UEFA, The Football Association (FA) and the Greater London Authority were present as the logo was unveiled at Wembley's Great Hall by final ambassador Gary Lineker, who was relishing the prospect of welcoming the world's "biggest club match".
Returning to the 'Home of Football' for the first time in the UEFA Champions League era, the final on 28 May 2011 will crown a week-long festival in England's capital celebrating the biggest date in the UEFA club calendar.
Speaking at the launch, UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said: "Hosting the UEFA Champions League final should be a prestigious moment, but at the same time it is important that the special occasion of the final reflects something of the heritage of the country it is being played in – hence the final identity."
The event design uses the UEFA Champions League Trophy as the central element of a heraldic crest that represents London's heritage, but its contemporary styling also reflects the city's international reputation for creativity. The trophy is flanked by two lions – an emblem found on statues, ironwork and paintings across the capital – which symbolise the two teams who will battle it out to be champions of Europe.
Former England striker Lineker, who scored 25 goals at Wembley for club and country during his career, said the 'Lions of London' design "does the trick", adding: "It's fabulous the final has returned to one of the great stadiums in world football. The Champions League is a great tournament, it's must-watch football – the biggest stars play in it and the final is biggest match in the world."
The FA's general secretary Alex Horne said: "We're delighted to be hosting the final next year, it's a hugely exciting time for Wembley Stadium. Footall matches don't get much bigger and better than the UEFA Champions League final. This stadium was built to host great events like this – it's a huge moment for us and we're working to make sure it will be a truly memorable occasion."
Wembley will be staging European football's biggest club game for a record sixth time. However, the venue is barely recognisable from its last continental showpiece: the 1992 European Champion Clubs' Cup final.
With the famed twin towers having made way for an iconic arch, the new Wembley reopened in 2007 and boasts a 90,000 all-seated capacity, making it an ideal setting for one of the world's premier sporting occasions. The traditional host of the FA Cup final and England national team matches, it is staging the 56th edition of the European Champion Clubs' Cup final.
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