IT’S the biggest sporting show on earth this year – and it’s coming to Cardiff.
A global audience of 200 million is expected to watch the UEFA Champions League Final live when it comes to the Welsh capital in June.
And more than 170,000 people are expected to arrive in Cardiff for the final on Saturday, June 3, when the best players in Europe bid for UEFA Champions League glory at the National Stadium of Wales (the name of the Principality Stadium for the event).
Work to prepare for the UEFA Champions League weekend has been going on behind the scenes for many months and in just a few weeks, the eyes of the world will fall on Cardiff for one of the greatest sporting events on the planet.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS AND ROAD CLOSURES
The road closures for the men’s final on June 3 will be far wider than any event seen at the stadium before.
There has been extensive planning to keep disruption caused by hosting the UEFA Champions League Final to a minimum.
A significant number of measures have to be put in place in the fortnight leading up to the finals.
The building of facilities for the finals will mean access to the city centre via Castle Street is likely to be limited in the build-up to the event.
The installation of a temporary pedestrian footbridge over Castle Street will mean it will be closed from just west of Westgate Street to the junction with Cathedral Road from midnight on Wednesday, May 31, to 6am on Monday, June 5.
The rest of Castle Street will close in line with the city centre road closures for the event.
During the four days of the fans’ festival, there will be extensive road closures in Cardiff Bay – including Lloyd-George Avenue and around the Bay itself – as well as city centre road closures from midnight on Friday, June 2, to the early hours of Sunday, June 4.
There will also be some short-term, localised road closures while the fans’ festival site and UEFA Champions Village and UEFA Football Village are set up.
All of the information on these road restrictions and closures can be found at www.cardiff2017.wales
THE UEFA CHAMPIONS FESTIVAL
- The four-day festival will be a real feast of football in Cardiff Bay from Thursday, June 1, to Sunday, June 4.
- The free festival will encompass Roald Dahl Plass, the Wales Millennium Centre and the Norwegian Church.
- It will be open from 11am to 11pm on Thursday, June 1, and Friday, June 2; and from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4. Times are subject to change.
- The festival will not be screening the final on June 3.
- Work on setting up the festival site will begin from May 12 when there may be some temporary, minor lane restrictions.
All of the information on road restrictions and closures can be found at www.cardiff2017.wales
A large Champions Main Stage will be situated in Roald Dahl Plass with a host of global and local artists, DJs and bands set to perform throughout each day.
For the first time, a Champions Floating Pitch will be installed in the Bay and will host the highly-anticipated UEFA Ultimate Champions Match on Friday, June 2, featuring legends of the beautiful game.
Last year’s participants included Brazil and Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos, Portugal’s Luís Figo and Germany’s Lothar Matthäus.
In addition, the floating pitch will host community activity, including walking football, refugee teams from Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, a deaf football friendly international, learning disability and youth age groups matches.
The UEFA Champions Gallery, a museum celebrating the UCL’s history, will be located inside the iconic Wales Millennium Centre.
The gallery will also celebrate and showcase the fantastic work being done across Wales by clubs, schools and communities. It will also feature workshops on a range of topics such as sports photography, creative writing and video production.
The Gallery will also feature the work being done as part of the FAW’s Community Engagement Initiatives throughout the build-up to the finals, including the Cardiff 2017 Curriculum Resource which was created for all primary schools in Wales and the #ThisIsWelshFootball photography competition.
The Pierhead building will be transformed into an interactive Virtual Champions Arena offering an immersive virtual reality experience.
There will be lots of UEFA fan engagement installations, the jewel in the crown being the iconic UEFA Champions League Trophy display, which gives visitors the opportunity to have a free photo taken alongside club football’s most iconic silverware, with the beautiful Cardiff Bay backdrop.
There will be food and drink stands and plenty more to see and do throughout each day.
ACCOMMODATION FOR TRAVELLING FANS
With hotel rooms booked up, a camp site is being set up in Pontcanna Fields to ensure there is affordable accommodation for visitors coming to the city for the UEFA Champions League Finals – campingninja.com/camp-cardiff-2017/
The camp site, which will feature pre-pitched camping and glamping facilities, will start setting up from Monday, May 22, and will operate from May 31 until June 5.
It is planned to have enough bed space for 5000 fans in a mix of 2, 4 and 8 person tents – which will be set out in the shape of a football shirt.
There will be no general parking on site but parking is available for those booked into the VIP and glamping areas.
Campers are being advised to use public transport to get to Cardiff. Those who do drive are being advised to use the city’s park and ride facilities.
The site is a very different facility to the scale, size and duration of the National Eisteddfod and Cardiff City Council is continuing to ensure the park is protected for its users.
The council doesn’t expect there to be much damage to grassland but a programme of reinstatement will be put in place to deal with any damage, should there be any.
For more information on the parks, click here: www.bute-park.com
KEEPING RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES INFORMED
Council officers began a face-to-face engagement programme with all businesses in the Inner Secure Area on March 27.
The Inner Secure Area is a safe zone around the stadium where security operations will be at an extremely high level.
Council officers are working through all the logistical issues which may arise for businesses during the city centre road closures, such as deliveries, cash collection and waste management.
Residents living in the Inner Secure Area – which mainly affects those living in Westgate Street, Lloyd George Avenue, Churchill Way, St Mary Street and Greyfriars Road – have also been written to.
Alternative parking arrangements have been provided while the roads are closed.
During the four days of the festival, there will be extensive road closures in Cardiff Bay as well as city centre road closures from midnight on Friday, June 2, to the early hours of Sunday, June 4.
Those living in the city centre who are affected by events in the stadium will be able to receive information through the City Council’s social media channels facebook and twitter, on the official event website www.cardiff2017.wales, and via traditional media, newspapers etc.
Information on road restrictions and closures can also be found at www.cardiff2017.wales
SECURITY FOR THE EVENT
This will be one of the biggest security operations ever undertaken in Cardiff.
There will be an increase in visual policing before and during the event and some officers will be armed.
These measures aren’t being put in place because of any specific intelligence on the event but due to the heightened global threat of terrorism.
For this event, additional security measures will be put in place on certain roads to create an Inner Secure Area in the city centre – a safe zone around the stadium where security operations will be at an extremely high level – and Cardiff Bay.
The majority of these measures will be put in place overnight and advance communications on where they will be will not be given.
There may be associated travel disruption and everyone is advised to leave more time for their journey, to consider using public transport or park & ride or preferably, if they live locally, to consider walking or cycling.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE DAY AND NIGHT OF THE FINAL
There will be 60,000 post-match rail journeys available – 15,000 more than during the Rugby World Cup. This will include 21 high speed train services to London.
22,500 air charter services will be available from Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff Airports supported with 450 transfer coaches.
An additional park & ride facility will be made available at Llanwern in Newport as well as the park and ride scheme in Cardiff East and 5,000 park and walk spaces in Cardiff Bay supporting the Champions Festival.
A national coach network of 1,250 vehicles (10% of the available coach market) will be delivering direct coach routes from more than 30 towns and cities across England as well as airport transfers.
There will be new crowd management arrangements put in place at Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay train stations.
Officers from British Transport Police will also be on hand at stations and on board rail services to and from Cardiff during the finals.
The specialist railway officers will also assist rail staff and Network Rail to mitigate any disruption on the network during what will be a busy time.
A new travel app is being launched for travelling fans.
MEN’S FINAL DAY – TRAVEL ADVICE FOR RESIDENTS
For the final on Saturday, June 3, a combination of road closures and tens of thousands of visiting fans arriving in the city from the early hours onwards means the advice to everyone is to plan ahead, and only travel by car along the M4 corridor if your journey is absolutely essential.
This is a global event of unprecedented scale for the city and travel by road within Cardiff on the Saturday will be particularly disrupted.
The City of Cardiff Council strongly advises residents wanting to experience the match day atmosphere to travel on foot or by bus and leave their cars at home.
Visiting fans are likely to fly into airports in England as well as Wales, so the M4 in particular will be very busy throughout Saturday.
In order to keep delays and congestion to a minimum, people are urged to avoid the M4 if at all possible for the whole of Saturday.
Because of the huge number of visiting fans expected in Cardiff on match day, Cardiff Council is encouraging as many people as possible to visit the fans’ festival in Cardiff Bay on the Thursday, Friday and Sunday along with the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final at Cardiff City Stadium on June 1.
UEFA CHAMPIONS VILLAGE / UEFA FOOTBALL VILLAGE
There will be two special villages set up in the city centre for hospitality guests on the day of the final.
The UEFA Champions Village is in Coopers Field and will host 7,000 guests. The UEFA Football Village, in Cardiff Castle grounds, will host 2,000 guests. Both will open at 4pm on Men’s Final day.
Work on setting up both villages is due to start from May 12 and there may be some short-term road closures while work is underway.
Detail of the closures will be available, as they are announced, on this website www.cardiff2017.wales
The Coopers Field village will be deconstructed and off site by the end of June. A compound, at the rear of the castle in Bute Park, built to enable the building of the Castle Village, will be removed before then.
Certain gates and footpaths will be closed for safety reasons when the villages are being built and taken down.
For security reasons, the southern half of Bute Park, from the UEFA Champions League Village across to the river Taff, just below the Millennium Walkway Bridge and the Summerhouse Kiosk, will be closed to the public on the match day weekend.
The southern half of Bute Park is expected to be closed from 7pm on Thursday, June 1, and is expected to reopen for normal operating hours on Sunday, June 4.
But there will be restricted access to the rear of the castle due to vehicle movements and diversion signs will be in place.
While pedestrians will not be able to use the southern half of Bute Park, they will be able to use the bridge and the kiosk but will not be able to walk south from here into town.
The Council will fully reinstate the affected grass areas and it is anticipated the grass will be better after the events than it is now.
Once the village site has left Coopers Field, the top layer of soil will be removed, the ground will be levelled out and a hardwearing rye grass seed mixture will be sown.
The new grass will be treated with fertiliser, mown frequently and irrigated, providing a good quality grass surface suitable for hosting regular major events.
Coopers Field will remain fenced off for 13 weeks to allow the newly-sown grass to establish.
Other affected grass areas will be fenced off and re-grown from seed or will be reinstated with turf.
Large areas of city centre parkland will remain open while the event sites are closed.
For more information on the parks, click here: www.bute-park.com