Wembley Stadium has been granted permission to host an additional nine non-sporting events, such as concerts, at full capacity each year.
The 90,000-capacity London stadium will be allowed to put on 46 events over the course of a year after Brent Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the proposals.
The move means the number of non-sporting events will rise to a maximum of 24 annually, alongside 22 sports fixtures. However, the 22 matches excludes UEFA European Championship or FIFA World Cup football matches where England or the UK is a host nation.
The council also gave permission for Wembley Stadium to host an additional three sporting events each year if they replace two non-sporting ones.
The announcement comes despite concerns from those living close to the stadium, which a council officers’ report said related to increased “anti-social behaviour, transport issues, air quality and noise” during events at Wembley.
According to the Harrow Times newspaper, the report said “mitigation measures” would be put in place to help manage the “high level” of impact on the area.
Chris Bryant, head of tournament delivery at Wembley Stadium, said the decision would allow “greater flexibility” as the site looks to compete with other stadiums in the capital such as Twickenham, London Stadium, and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the newspaper reports.
Despite being granted permission to organise 24 concerts each year, Bryant suggested this would be “unlikely”. He also said a condition would be implemented to avoid non-sporting events from taking place on more than four nights in a row.
Bryant added that the move will support Wembley Stadium’s recovery after COVID-19 as it looks to run a full events programme in 2022. This year, the venue is scheduled to stage seven European Championship matches, including the semi-finals and final.
The stadium will host test events featuring thousands of spectators beforehand at an FA Cup semi-final on April 18, the Carabao Cup final on April 25, and the FA Cup final on May 15.