Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is a football club based in Manchester, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark's, it became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894; the club's home ground is the City of Manchester Stadium in east Manchester, to which it moved in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923. Manchester City entered the Football League in 1899, won their first major honour with the FA Cup in 1904, it had its first major period of success in the late 1960s, winning the League, FA Cup and League Cup under the management of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, culminating in relegation to the third tier of English football. Having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, Manchester City was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group for £210 million and received considerable financial investment; the club won the Premier League in 2012, 2014 and, most in 2018 becoming the first Premier League team to attain 100 points in a single season.
Manchester City's revenue was the fifth highest of a football club in the world in the 2017–18 season at €527.7 million. In 2018, Forbes estimated. City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899, they went on to claim their first major honour on 23 April 1904, beating Bolton Wanderers 1–0 at Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup. In the seasons following the FA Cup triumph, the club was dogged by allegations of financial irregularities, culminating in the suspension of seventeen players in 1906, including captain Billy Meredith, who subsequently moved across town to Manchester United. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, in 1923 the club moved to their new purpose-built stadium at Maine Road in Moss Side. In the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. During the 1934 cup run, Manchester City broke the record for the highest home attendance of any club in English football history, as 84,569 fans packed Maine Road for a sixth round FA Cup tie against Stoke City in 1934 – a record which still stands to this day.
The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, but were relegated the following season, despite scoring more goals than any other team in the division. Twenty years a City team inspired by a tactical system known as the Revie Plan reached consecutive FA Cup finals again, in 1955 and 1956; the 1956 final, in which Manchester City beat Birmingham City 3–1, is one of the most famous finals of all-time, is remembered for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann continuing to play on after unknowingly breaking his neck. After being relegated to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison was appointed. In the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Two seasons in 1967–68, Manchester City claimed the League Championship for the second time, clinching the title on the final day of the season with a 4–3 win at Newcastle United and beating their close neighbours Manchester United into second place.
Further trophies followed: City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2–1 in Vienna. City won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy and a domestic trophy in the same season; the club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. One of the matches from this period, most fondly remembered by supporters of Manchester City is the final match of the 1973–74 season against arch-rivals Manchester United, who needed to win to have any hope of avoiding relegation. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1–0 win at Old Trafford and confirm the relegation of their rivals; the final trophy of the club's most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup final. A long period of decline followed the success of the 1970s.
Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers followed – seven in the 1980s alone. Under John Bond, City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur; the club were twice relegated from the top flight in the 1980s, but returned to the top flight again in 1989 and finished fifth in 1991 and 1992 under the management of Peter Reid. However, this was only a temporary respite, following Reid's departure Manchester City's fortunes continued to fade. City were co-founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, but after finishing ninth in its first season they endured three seasons of struggle before being relegated in 1996. After two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the second European trophy winners to be
Javier Alejandro Mascherano is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder or centre-back for Chinese club Hebei China Fortune. Nicknamed "El Jefecito", Mascherano is a versatile and tactically intelligent footballer, with an excellent ability to read the game and organise his team. Regarding Mascherano's playing style, Jonathan Wilson noted in a 2013 article for The Guardian that he was an example of a type of holding midfielder that he dubbed a destroyer, who "clattered about making tackles and collecting bookings, his role entirely of regaining possession and distributing it simply."Mascherano began his career at River Plate, where he earned his first senior honours, the Primera División Argentina, in 2003–04. He moved to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2005. Mascherano moved to Europe, signing for Premier League side West Ham United, but his brief time at the club was blighted by unusual contract terms with Global Soccer Agencies. At the beginning of 2007, he joined Liverpool on loan, reaching the final of the UEFA Champions League, before he signed with the club for £18.7 million.
After three years playing for Liverpool, Mascherano joined Barcelona in 2010, where he changed his position of defensive midfielder to full central defender. With Barcelona, he won five La Liga championships, two UEFA Champions League titles, two FIFA Club World Cups, among other honours. Mascherano made 147 appearances for the Argentina national team and is the most capped player in the country's history. From his debut in 2003 until his retirement in 2018, he represented the nation at five Copa América tournaments, finishing runner-up in 2004, 2007, 2015, 2016, four FIFA World Cups, reaching the 2014 final, he twice won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics, in 2004 and 2008, becoming the first male footballer to achieve this double feat since 1968. Between 2008 and 2011, Mascherano served as the captain of Argentina. Born in San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, Mascherano came through the youth ranks at River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, before making his club debut he made his name representing Argentina.
Mascherano won his first silverware. In the 2004 Copa Libertadores River reached the semi-final, but lost on penalties to arch-rivals Boca Juniors. Around this time several clubs including Real Madrid, Deportivo de La Coruña declared an interest in signing Mascherano, but River Plate turned down all offers, saying that none of the interested parties were prepared to pay enough. 2004–05 was not a successful season for River, finishing third in the Apertura Championship and only tenth in the Clausura. In the Copa Libertadores River again lost in this time to São Paulo. After the Confederations Cup in Germany, Brazilian club Corinthians acquired Mascherano from River Plate for US$15 million; the Brazilian Série A runs from April, so Mascherano joined Corinthians in mid-season. After playing only nine games for his new club, in September 2005, Mascherano suffered a stress fracture to his left foot causing him to miss the end of the season, he returned to Argentina to be operated on by recuperate. Corinthians, still claimed the 2005 Série A championship with the team captained by Mascherano's Argentine compatriot, Carlos Tevez.
In total, Mascherano was out of action for six months, only returning on 5 March 2006. Corinthians were forced to start their 2006 Copa Libertadores without Mascherano, but he returned in time for the Round of 16 tie against River Plate, which Corinthians lost; the 2006 Brazilian Série A went badly for Corinthians, at one stage they were battling against relegation. In June, the league season was interrupted for the 2006 World Cup. Although his performance drew the attention of European clubs, he stated his desire to remain with Corinthians to help with the relegation battle, postponed any transfer until January at the earliest. Hours before the northern summer 2006 transfer window closed, Mascherano joined West Ham United for an undisclosed fee, along with teammate Carlos Tevez. During the summer of 2006, Mascherano was linked with top clubs around Europe. Mascherano holds an Italian passport due to his ancestry; the move to West Ham was seen as surprising, with many of Europe's top clubs having been linked with Mascherano all summer.
There were many rumours about the nature of the transfer regarding Media Sports Investment's interest in buying-out West Ham. Rumours included speculation as to whether West Ham owned the players, or whether a third party held their registration, that if a high enough offer was received West Ham would be forced to sell. Before Mascherano joined, West Ham had drawn one and lost one. Upon his arrival, the team went into free-fall, losing eight games and drawing one game in all competitions before their next win on 29 October. During this time, Mascherano featured in the team despite their struggles, prompting rumours about financial clauses related to the amount of time he played. In October, Argentina national coach Alfio Basile stated that he hoped Mascherano would leave West Ham "as soon as possible", and, "I hope for God's sake that Mascherano can go to Juventus
Bhutan the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in East Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center; the independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and it has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory was composed of many fiefdoms and governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire.
Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism and has a disputed border with China. In 2008, Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan; the National Assembly of Bhutan is part of the bicameral parliament of the Bhutanese democracy. The country's landscape ranges from lush subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks in excess of 7,000 metres. Gangkhar Puensum is the highest peak in Bhutan, it may be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world; the wildlife of Bhutan is notable for its diversity. In South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business, peace. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country. Hydroelectricity accounts for the major share of its exports; the government is a parliamentary democracy. Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union, but does not have formal ties with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
It is a member of SAARC, BIMSTEC and the Non-Aligned Movement. The Royal Bhutan Army maintains a close relationship with the Indian Armed Forces. Bhutan is notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness; the precise etymology of "Bhutan" is unknown, although it is to derive from the Tibetan endonym "Bod" used for Tibet. Traditionally, it is taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta "end of Tibet", a reference to Bhutan's position as the southern extremity of the Tibetan plateau and culture. Since the 17th century the official name of Bhutan has been Druk yul and Bhutan only appears in English-language official correspondence. Names similar to Bhutan — including Bohtan, Bottanthis and Bottanter — began to appear in Europe around the 1580s. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in every case, these seem to have been describing not modern Bhutan but the Kingdom of Tibet; the modern distinction between the two did not begin until well into the Scottish explorer George Bogle's 1774 expedition — realizing the differences between the two regions and states, his final report to the East India Company formally proposed labelling the Druk Desi's kingdom as "Boutan" and the Panchen Lama's as "Tibet".
The EIC's surveyor general James Rennell first anglicized the French name as Bootan and popularized the distinction between it and greater Tibet. Locally, Bhutan has been known by many names. One of the earliest Western records of Bhutan, the 1627 Relação of the Portuguese Jesuits Estêvão Cacella and João Cabral, records its name variously as Cambirasi and Mon; the first time a separate Kingdom of Bhutan appeared on a western map, it did so under its local name as "Broukpa". Others including Lho Mon, Lho Tsendenjong, Lhomen Khazhi and Lho Menjong. Stone tools, weapons and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon, or Monyul may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600; the names Lhomon Tsendenjong, Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon, have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles. Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD.
Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo, a convert to Buddhism, who had extended the Tibetan Empire into Sikkim and Bhutan, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu in the Paro Valley. Buddhism was propagated in earnest in 746 under King Sindhu Rāja, an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace. Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was influenced by its
Joseph "Sepp" Blatter is a Swiss football administrator, the eighth President of the FIFA from 1998 to 2015. He is on a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities. From a background in business, public relations, sports administration, Blatter became general secretary of FIFA in 1981 and was elected president at the 51st FIFA Congress on 8 June 1998, succeeding João Havelange, who had headed the organization since 1974. Blatter was reelected in 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015. Like his predecessor Havelange, Blatter sought to increase the influence of African and Asian countries in world football through the expansion of participating teams in various FIFA tournaments, he has persistently been dogged by claims of corruption and financial mismanagement. Blatter's reign oversaw a vast expansion in revenues generated by the FIFA World Cup accompanied by the collapse of the marketing company International Sport and Leisure and numerous allegations of corruption in the bidding processes for the awarding of FIFA tournaments.
On 2 June 2015, six days after the United States government indicted several current and former FIFA officials and sports marketing companies for bribery and money laundering, Blatter announced that he would call for elections to choose a new president of FIFA and that he would not stand in these elections, but he said he would remain in his position until an extraordinary FIFA Congress could be held for his successor to be elected. Criminal proceedings were announced against Blatter by the Swiss Attorney General's office on 25 September 2015, regarding "criminal mismanagement... and misappropriation". In October 2015, Blatter and other top FIFA officials were suspended amid the investigation, in December the independent FIFA Ethics Committee ejected Blatter from office and banned him from taking part in any FIFA activities over the following eight years. On 24 February 2016, a FIFA appeals committee upheld the suspension but reduced it from eight years to six. Issa Hayatou served as the acting President of FIFA until an extraordinary FIFA Congress was held in late February, electing Gianni Infantino as the 9th president of FIFA.
Blatter was born in Visp in the Swiss canton of Valais with the given name of Josef. He studied in Saint Maurice, before getting a degree in business and economics from the University of Lausanne in 1959. Blatter has had a long and varied career, including posts such as head of public relations for the tourist board of his native canton, as well as general secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation, he was Director of Sports Timing and Relations of Longines S. A. and was involved in the organization of 1976 Olympic Games. From 1975 onwards, Blatter worked at FIFA, first as technical director general secretary, before his election as FIFA president in 1998, he was re-elected as head of FIFA in 2002, was re-elected unopposed for another four years on 31 May 2007 though only 66 of 207 FIFA members nominated him. Blatter and FIFA have been dogged by controversy and allegations of corruption, his tenure has seen controversy over allegations of financial mismanagement and the acceptance of bribes resulting in Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid.
Blatter has attracted criticism from the media, senior football figures and players, due to controversial statements. These include the claim that Latin American countries would applaud John Terry for having an extramarital affair, that on-field racism could be corrected with a handshake, among others, he drew criticism at the 2014 FIFA World Cup seeding, when he interrupted a "one-minute silence" for former South-African president Nelson Mandela, who died the day before, after eleven seconds. Michael van Praag, the chairman of the Royal Dutch Football Association, called his behavior "preposterous" and expressed the hope Blatter would not be reelected in 2015. Blatter has been publicly heckled, at the World Cup in Seoul and the Confederations Cup in Frankfurt, both in 2006, in his home town of Visp in 2011, at the 2012 Women's Olympic Football Final Medal Ceremony, at the opening of Confederations Cup match in 2013. In order to avoid protest, no speeches were given at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Sepp Blatter's 1998 election to the presidency of FIFA over UEFA President Lennart Johansson occurred amidst much controversy. Blatter's 2002 candidacy has been marked with rumours of financial irregularities and backroom dealings, culminating with direct accusations of bribery, by a third party, made in the British press by Farra Ado, vice-president of the Confederation of African Football and president of the Somali Football Federation, who claimed to have been offered $100,000 to vote for Blatter in 1998. In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, after a controversial second-round match between Portugal and the Netherlands, which saw referee Valentin Ivanov issue a record 16 yellow cards and four red cards, Blatter was said to have lambasted the officiating referee, said that Ivanov should have given himself a yellow card for his poor performance as a referee, he claimed to regret his words and promised to apologise to Ivanov. However, this apology was never given, the referee was removed from further officiating.
Blatter was criticized in 2007 and 2008 for trying to change European Union employment law regarding the number of foreign players that football clubs could field at any one time. His plans were to set a restriction of five foreign players and having six players from the said team's own nationality. Blatter believed this would help the countries' national sides by having more national players playing in their leagues. Blatter has referred to the English Premier League as one of the major problems in foot
Ryan Joseph Giggs, is a Welsh football coach and former player. He is a co-owner of Salford City, he played his entire professional career for Manchester United, served as Manchester United's interim manager. The son of rugby union, Wales international rugby league footballer Danny Wilson, Giggs was born in Cardiff but moved to Manchester at the age of six when his father joined Swinton RLFC. Predominantly a left winger, he began his career with Manchester City, but joined Manchester United on his 14th birthday in 1987, he made his professional debut for the club in 1991 and spent the next 23 years in the Manchester United first team. At the end of the 2013–14 season, he was named as Manchester United's interim player-manager following the sacking of David Moyes, he was named as assistant manager under Moyes' permanent replacement, Louis van Gaal, on 19 May 2014. He holds the club record for competitive appearances. At international level, Giggs played for the Wales national team 64 times between 1991 and 2007, was named as the captain of the Great Britain team that competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
He is one of only 28 players to have made over 1,000 career appearances. Giggs is the most decorated player in football history. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals, two UEFA Champions League winner's medals, a FIFA Club World Cup winners medal, an Intercontinental Cup winner's medal, a UEFA Super Cup winner's medal and nine FA Community Shield winner's medals. Manchester United and Liverpool are the only clubs in English football history to have won more league championships than Giggs. Giggs captained United on numerous occasions in the 2007–08 season when regular captain Gary Neville was ruled out with various injuries. Giggs has a number of personal achievements, he was the first player in history to win two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards, though he did not win the PFA Player of the Year award until 2009. He was the only player to play in each of the first 22 seasons of the Premier League, as well as the only player to score in each of the first 21 seasons.
He was elected into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007, the Premier League Team of the Decade in 2003, as well as the FA Cup Team of the Century. Giggs holds the record for the most assists in Premier League history, with 271, he was named as BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009. In addition to the many honours Giggs has received within football, he was appointed an OBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours List for his services to football. Giggs was born at St David's Hospital in Canton, Cardiff, to Danny Wilson, a rugby union player for Cardiff RFC, Lynne Giggs. Giggs is mixed race – his paternal grandfather is from Sierra Leone – and has spoken of the racism he faced as a child; as a child, Giggs grew up in a suburb of western Cardiff. His younger brother, Rhodri, is a former manager of non-league Salford City, he spent much time with his mother's parents and playing football and rugby league on the roads outside their house in Pentrebane. In 1980, when Giggs was six years old, his father switched from rugby union to rugby league, signed for Swinton RLFC, forcing the whole family to move north to Swinton, a town in Salford, Greater Manchester.
The move was a traumatic one, as Giggs was close to his grandparents in Cardiff, but he would return there with his family at weekends or on school holidays. After moving to Salford, Giggs appeared for the local team, Deans FC, who were coached by Manchester City scout Dennis Schofield. Schofield recommended Giggs to Manchester City, he was signed up to their School of Excellence. Meanwhile, Giggs continued to play for Salford Boys, who went on to reach the final of the Granada Schools Cup competition at Anfield in 1987. Giggs captained the Salford team to victory over their Blackburn counterparts, was man of the match, the trophy was presented to him by Liverpool chief scout Ron Yeats. Giggs played rugby league at schoolboy level. While playing for Deans, Giggs was observed by local newsagent and Old Trafford steward Harold Wood. Wood spoke to Alex Ferguson who sent a scout, Giggs was offered a trial over the 1986 Christmas period. Giggs played in a match for Salford Boys against a United Under-15s side at The Cliff and scored a hat-trick, with Ferguson watching from his office window.
On 29 November 1987, Ferguson turned up at Giggs's house with United scout Joe Brown and offered him two years on associate schoolboy forms. They offered to waive YTS forms, persuaded Giggs to sign by offering the opportunity to turn professional in three years. Using the name Ryan Wilson, Giggs captained England at schoolboy level, playing at Wembley Stadium against Germany in 1989, he changed his surname to that of his mother at the age of 16, when his mother remarried, two years after his parents' separation. Giggs was offered his first professional contract on 29 November 1990, he became a professional two days later. At this time, United had won the FA Cup – their first major trophy since the appointment of Alex Ferguson as manager in November 1986. After two seasons in the league where they had finished mid table, they were starting to threaten the dominance of Liverpool and Arsenal, though they only managed to finish sixth that season. Ferguson's quest for a successful left winger had not been an easy one since the departure of Jesper Olsen two years earlier.
Changlimithang Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Thimphu, which serves as the National Stadium. It is predominantly used for football matches and is the home of both the Bhutan national football team and a number of Thimphu-based football clubs who play in both the A-Division and the National League. In addition to football, the stadium regularly plays host to major archery tournaments, the national sport of Bhutan; the stadium was constructed in 1974 for the coronation of the fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck, but was refurbished in 2007 in advance of the coronation of the fifth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Floodlighting was added to the football pitch in 2009 and an evergreen turf was laid in 2012, to coincide with the start of the first season of the National League. Located 2,300 meters above sea level, the stadium is one of the highest in the world, it has raised numerous controversies in footballing circles, as its significant altitude affects the absorption of oxygen in the human body, offering considerable advantage to the home team who are more accustomed to such conditions.
Changlimithang is built on the site of a decisive battle in Bhutan's history, fought in 1885, which established the supremacy of Ugyen Wangchuk, his coronation as the first Druk Gyalpo and led to the unification of Bhutan following a series of civil wars and rebellions between 1882 and 1885. Construction for the original stadium was completed in 1974 in time for the coronation of the fourth Druk Gyaplo, Jigme Singye Wangchuk and at that time the whole park covered an area of 11 hectares, with seating for around 10,000 people; as well as taking on the role of national stadium and being the home to the Bhutan national football team and national archery competitions, the stadium provided facilities for squash and tennis in addition to being the headquarters of the Bhutan Olympic Committee. The stadium was refurbished and reopened in 2008 for the dual celebration of the coronation of the fifth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and the centenary of the establishment of the House of Wangchuck and the reunification of the country.
Redevelopment plans were drawn up by the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement in conjunction with the National Steering Committee for the Coronation Celebrations. The old stand which consisted of 6 rows of seating with a capacity of around 10,000 was demolished to be replaced with a stand consisting of twenty one rows of seating; this stand would provide substantial seating not just around the area of the football pitch, but down alongside the archery range. In order to complete this construction, the squash court and basketball court were demolished, although the increased size of the stand allowed for the creation of areas for table tennis and shooting as well as facilities for bathing and changing underneath the seating area. In addition to changes to the sporting venues within the facility, the Olympic association were provided with new offices, the royal pavilion was expanded to increase guest capacity and the banqueting hall was renovated. Two new parks were created on the land surrounding the facility: one between the car park and the river and another nearer the archery range were laid out at a cost of Nu 2,000,000.
These renovations took two years and cost a total of Nu 230,000,000. The newly refurbished stadium was opened by Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck. Further enhancements were made to the football pitch in 2011. There had been a desire to include floodlighting at the stadium since 2006, but this had not been achieved due to the high cost of installation. A trip to Bhutan by Tata Group owner Ratan Tata led to an agreement between Tata Power, Druk Green and the Bhutan Olympic Committee to install floodlighting, with Tata bearing the cost of installation as an act of corporate social responsibility; the total cost of installing the floodlighting was Rs 13,230,000. Further refurbishment was announced in June 2016; the first improvements included installation of plastic seats on the concrete galleries, installation of additional restroom facilities, expansion of player facilities such as locker rooms. It was announced that plastic seats would be installed in other sections of the stadium pending budget; the Nu 35 million costs were provided by the government of India.
As well as continuing to hold sporting events, the facility has been utilised for wider public occasions including the Wedding of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Jetsun Pema. Despite the increase in capacity a few years earlier, the stadium was unable to hold all of the people who wished to attend the occasion. Following the wedding, more improvements were made to the football pitch, with the grass field being replaced with an artificial surface to improve the performance of the players and add additional durability to the facility as a whole, it had been difficult to maintain the ground to an acceptable standard, with an uneven, rain-soaked pitch leading to mocking calls from spectators in the mid-1990s. Financial support from FIFA enabled the project to go ahead and work started at the ground in March 2012 with the artificial turf being laid in November and finished in December the same year; as part of a two-day visit to Bhutan in March 2012, FIFA president Sepp Blatter performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the new pitch, promising that FIFA would support Bhutanese football.
However there were delays in completing the upgrade as cold weather at the beginning of the project prevented workers from starting construction and the monsoon weather in the summer hampered the ability of suppliers to deliver materials such as cement to the site. The delays were such that they nearly resulted in a postponement to the start of the natio
The Millennium Stadium, is the national stadium of Wales. Located in Cardiff, it is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and has held Wales national football team games. Built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup, it has gone on to host many other large-scale events, such as the Tsunami Relief Cardiff concert, the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain, the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain and various music concerts, it hosted six FA Cup finals and several other high-profile football fixtures while Wembley Stadium was being redeveloped. The stadium is owned by a subsidiary company of the Welsh Rugby Union; the architects were Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture. The structural engineers were WS Atkins and the building contractor was Laing; the total construction cost of the stadium was £121 million, of which the Millennium Commission funded £46 million. The Millennium Stadium opened in June 1999 and its first major event was an international rugby union match on 26 June 1999, when Wales beat South Africa in a test match by 29–19 before a crowd of 29,000.
With a total seating capacity of 74,500, it is the third-largest stadium in the Six Nations Championship behind the Stade de France and Twickenham. It is the second-largest stadium in the world with a retractable roof and was the second stadium in Europe to have this feature. Listed as a category four stadium by UEFA, the stadium was chosen as the venue for the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final, which took place on 3 June 2017. In 2015, the Welsh Rugby Union announced a 10-year sponsorship deal with the Principality Building Society that saw the stadium renamed as the "Principality Stadium" from early 2016; until 1969, Cardiff RFC and Wales both played their home matches on the same pitch at Cardiff Arms Park, but all this changed in the 1969–70 season. As a result of an agreement between Cardiff Athletic Club and the WRU, the National Stadium project established that a new stadium for international matches and events was required, with Cardiff RFC moving to a new purpose built stadium on the original cricket ground at the site of the former Cardiff Arms Park stadium.
By 7 April 1984 the National Stadium was opened. However, in 1994, a redevelopment committee was set up to consider redeveloping the National Stadium, by 1995 the WRU had been chosen to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup. In 1995, the National Stadium, designed in 1962, only had a capacity of 53,000. France was about to build the Stade de France, which would have a capacity of more than 80,000 for the 1998 FIFA World Cup; the original capacity of the National Stadium was 65,000, but this had been reduced to 53,000, due to the Taylor Report. 11,000 of 53,000 capacity was on the East Terrace and the conversion to an all-seater stadium would have reduced the stadium capacity still further to just 47,500. In addition to the problems of capacity, the National Stadium was very well hidden by the neighbouring buildings to the south in Park Street, Wood Street and to the east in Westgate Street, by Cardiff Rugby Ground in the north, it was only visible from across the River Taff in the west. Access to the ground was very restricted with the main entrance being a narrow opening in Westgate Street to the east, shared by both vehicles and spectators alike.
The options for the new stadium included adding a third tier to the existing National Stadium, or moving to a new site. This last option was discounted because it would have required a vast car parking facility, that would have put severe short-term pressures on the local transport infrastructure, creating traffic jams and pollution; the committee chose a new stadium on the same site but with considerable increase in its capacity. It would involve moving the alignment of the stadium from west-east to north-south; this was the option supported by the Millennium Commission. It would become the fourth redevelopment of the Cardiff Arms Park site, it was decided that the new stadium should have a sliding roof to accommodate a multi-use venue, with a grass pitch for rugby and football. The only other sliding roofs in Europe at the time were at two Dutch stadia – the Amsterdam Arena, completed in 1996 with a capacity of 50,000. To remain on the Arms Park site, additional space had to be found to allow safe access and to provide room for the increased capacity and improved facilities.
This was achieved by the purchase of adjacent buildings to the south and east and by the construction of a new £6 million River Walk by the River Taff on the western side of the stadium. By 1999, the Millennium Stadium had replaced the National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park, as the national stadium of Wales for rugby union and association football international matches. Cardiff RFC continued as before to play at Cardiff Arms Park rugby ground, which had replaced the cricket ground in 1969; the stadium was designed by a team led by Bob Sheard at Lobb Sport Architecture, who merged with HOK Sport to become Populous. The building contractor was Laing and the structural engineers were WS Atkins. Mike Otlet of WS Atkins designed the stadium's retractable roof. Cimolai S.p. A. from Italy fabricated and erected the 72 steel plane frames for the stands and all the 4,500 components of the roof. Construction involved the demolition of a number of buildings the existing National Stadium, Wales Empire Pool in Wood Stre