A five-hour pop concert
highlighted the long-delayed grand opening of Poland's new
National Stadium in Warsaw on Sunday, built for this summer's
Euro 2012 finals which Poland will co-host with Ukraine.
The modern venue, whose architecture reminds some of a royal
crown and others of a wicker laundry basket, will stage the
opening ceremony and then the opening match of the tournament
between Poland and Greece on June 8. `
Covering an area of nearly 204,000 square metres, the
58,000-seat stadium was built at a cost of $641 million and has
been billed as "Europe's biggest facility of its kind," public
news channel TVP INFO said.
The stadium was due to be completed in June last year but
has been plagued by technical snags, including a defective
staircase and problems with electrical wiring.
A friendly international between Poland and Germany in
September was moved to Gdansk.
Safety officials did not approve its use for public events
until two days ago.
"I am happy that this time we have met the deadline," beamed
sports minister Joanna Mucha at Sunday's news conference. "We
are hoping the National Stadium can host 10 to 15 major events a
year as well as a number of smaller ones," she added.
Although this is Poland's only stadium with a retractable
roof, it cannot be closed in sub-freezing temperatures.
But its heated pitch should make a planned February 29
Poland-Portugal friendly less foreboding in the event of cold
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