The ticket launch ceremony for the 2011 UEFA Champions League final made it clear that a European final in front of a capacity crowd at Wembley will be a very special occasion.
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Tower Bridge provided a spectacular backdrop as former players and local dignitaries joined UEFA to celebrate the launch of ticket sales for the UEFA Champions League final in London on Saturday 28 May – with the match at Wembley Stadium 100 days away.
Gary Lineker and Hope Powell, the respective ambassadors of the men's final and the UEFA Women's Champions League showpiece to be played two nights before the main event, watched on at the English capital's City Hall as the ticketing process for what will be a record sixth European Champion Clubs' Cup final at Wembley was explained.
A total of 11,000 tickets will be on sale to the international general public exclusively via UEFA.com between Thursday 24 February and Friday 18 March, with further details and conditions available here. The net capacity of Wembley Stadium will be around 86,000, with each of the clubs in the final entitled to take up to 25,000 tickets to distribute directly to their fans. The UEFA Women's Champions League final takes place at Fulham FC's Craven Cottage on Thursday 26 May.
UEFA fourth vice-president Marios N Lefkaritis was thrilled that this season's competition would conclude at such an iconic venue. "As a stadium the old Wembley was a truly global name, conjuring up fantastic football memories," he said. "The new Wembley, with its magnificent arch and great facilities, could wait no longer to host this final and offer almost 90,000 fans a unique display of football."
Representing The Football Association (FA), vice-chairman Barry Bright confirmed that the arch would be lit for all of the capital to see on 28 May, adding: "Wembley was built for historical occasions like this and we're looking forward to showing our stadium, which we believe is one of the best in the world, to the world. A European final in front of a capacity crowd at Wembley will be a very special event."
Lineker concurred: "London has so much history in terms of football, not just its successful clubs but also Wembley Stadium which is such an iconic venue across the world. The Champions League really comes to life in the knockouts and there are four English teams involved, three from London. It's an incredible statistic that a London team has never won the competition."
Fans of all nations are expected to descend on Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park for the UEFA Champions Festival, a week-long celebration in the build-up to the final that will feature an array of exhibitions and entertainment for people of all ages including football competitions and skills clinics.
Graeme Le Saux, the festival ambassador, and Hope Powell were handed the first symbolic tickets for the final by four local schoolchildren, after which the former Chelsea FC and England player gave the signal for a team of abseilers to reveal a huge replica ticket on the side of City Hall, directly on the River Thames opposite the Tower of London.
The festival will shut its doors in the run-up to kick-off at Wembley, where the captain of one of the competition's 16 remaining clubs will follow in the footsteps of the five previous winners – FC Barcelona (1992), Liverpool FC (1978), AFC Ajax (1971), Manchester United FC (1968) and AC Milan (1963) – in lifting club football's most prestigious prize.