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Culture

Work Begins on Munich's New Football Stadium

Construction has begun on Munich's new state-of-the-art football stadium, the Allianz Arena, in readiness for the 2006 World Cup,

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The new Allianz Arena is set to light up Munich's soccer scene.

With its walls made up of hundreds of inflatable cushions, the colours of which can be changed by light projections, the new Allianz Arena in Munich will be one of the most impressive structural aspects of Germany's World Cup in 2006.

Construction on the Arena, already nicknamed 'the life belt' and 'the rubber boat', began on Monday in Munich's northern district of Fröttmaning.

The 280 million euro ($272.6m) stadium gets its official name from a long-term marketing partnership between the German insurance company Allianz and the stadium's own holding company München Stadion GmbH. The deal, worth 90 million euro ($87.6) to the insurer, is set to keep the Allianz name on the stadium for 15 years, initially running until June 30th 2021.

FC Bayern München: Paulo Sergio

Local rivals Bayern and 1860 München will share the new Arena.

Work on the stadium is expected to be completed by April 30th 2005, in readiness for the 2006 World Cup. But as well as playing host to this championship, the new 66,000-seater arena will see regular Bundesliga action. It will become the home stadium for Munich's two top league sides, arch rivals Bayern and TSV 1860 München. Currently, both teams play their home games at the ageing Olympicstadion.

Despite their rivalry, both clubs have been involved from the start of the project and were part of the selection team that chose the design by Alpine Bau Deutschland, in association with Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, from a list of competition entrants. But there can be no arguments on the subject of money: both clubs will share the cost of the new stadium equally.

The revolutionary design was preferred to seven other projects because it was considered to be 'an innovative interpretation of the football stadium of the future'. The stadium will provide the crowd with close proximity to the action in an attempt to produce a daunting cauldron atmosphere, something that the Olympicstadion has been accused of lacking.

FC Bayern München President Franz Beckenbauer said, "We have selected a design that will set new standards for football in the future."

"The Allianz Arena will play an outstanding role in staging the 2006 World Cup."

His 1860 München counterpart Karl-Heinz Wildmoser added, "As the home for the two clubs, the Allianz Arena will launch a new chapter in the football history of our city and the two clubs."

"I am sure that the fans of both our club and Bayern München will feel at home here and be able to keep their own identities in the future despite everything we share."

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