The FA need to install new floodlights at Wembley to make it fit to host seven games at Euro 2020.
Wembley is currently failing to meet the latest requirements of UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League and a total overhaul of the technology is required, according to papers seen by Sportsmail.
Plans for new £2million LED lights, which were submitted to Brent Council, state that there is a ‘shortfall’ between the current ‘field of play lighting’ and what is expected at the highest level of world football.
Wembley’s current floodlights will need replacing if the stadium is to host Euro 2020 matches
The designs by US lighting specialists Musco Lighting, who have overseen similar work at a number of Premier League clubs, Wimbledon’s Centre Court and Twickenham, show that the 408 existing floodlights would be replaced by 368 LED lights.
They say that the proposed lighting solution ‘meets the criteria for FIFA, UEFA and NFL standards and include the technical specification to allow for HDTV with current super slow-motion and flicker free replay’.
While UEFA guidelines emphasise that lighting can significantly impact on the experience for players and officials, it is thought that the main driver of these changes is broadcasting standards.
It would appear that some of the stadium’s existing meta-halide lights have deteriorated, since being installed when the stadium was built over 10 years ago, while international standards have also changed over the last decade.
The current lights do meet requirements set by UEFA, FIFA or Premier League
The documents state that a recent survey by Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) identified ‘a shortfall in the field of play lighting performance when compared to the latest requirements set out by FIFA, UEFA and Premier League’.
They add that ‘existing infrastructure limitations and the condition survey identified that the existing floodlighting was approaching the end of its operational lifecycle’.
Nearly half of the Premier League grounds have installed state-of-the-art LED floodlighting in recent years, meaning that they currently have better technology than the national stadium.
The FA insist that they have not been instructed to carry out the work, and it is part of mass refurbishment work at the stadium. Quite when they plan to do the work — if the plans are approved — is not clear, given that Tottenham have yet to confirm when they will move into their new stadium.
Refurbishment work at Wembley is typically carried out between Christmas and March, when there are no scheduled matches.
On Wednesday night the FA indicated they would ideally like to install the new floodlights this season.
Lights need changing for broadcast reasons and £2m work could be carried out this season
A sports lighting designer who has been involved in lighting at Wembley for over 30 years estimated that the work would cost roughly £2m and that although it would typically take a few months it could be completed in a matter of weeks.
The expert has been responsible for taking official measurements of the lighting quality at Wembley for a number of years, and said that last year he noted that the floodlights were compliant with Premier League requirements but had only been ‘partial FIFA compliant’ and ‘needed a bit of work’.
He said the FA had made the right decision to install new lights, in order to get the stadium fit for purpose for Euro 2020.
UEFA’s stadium lighting guide requires that any stadium hosting the Euros or the Champions League final must be classed as an ‘Elite level A stadium’ in relation to its floodlights.