The stadium is owned by Millennium Stadium plc, a subsidiary company of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). The Millennium Stadium (Welsh: Stadiwm y Mileniwm), currently known for sponsorship purposes as the Principality Stadium (Welsh: Stadiwm Principality), is the national stadium of Wales, located in Cardiff. It is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and has also staged games of the Wales national football team. Initially built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup, it has gone on to host many other large-scale events, such as the Tsunami Relief concert, the Super Special Stage of Wales Rally Great Britain, the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain and various music concerts. It also hosted six FA Cup finals and several other high-profile football fixtures whilst Wembley Stadium was being redeveloped.
Construction on the venue, located on the site of the old National Stadium, began in 1997. Despite being only three-quarters complete, the arena hosted its first match in June 1999, the Welsh rugby side recording their maiden victory against South Africa. The stadium is equipped with a retractable roof, comprising two sliding 400-tonne sections which take 20 minutes to open or close. It is the second largest covered stadium in the world, behind Cowboys Stadium, Texas, United States. The playing surface is made up of 7,412 squares of turf which can be removed and stored when events such as concerts take place.
The natural grass turf was made up of a modular system installed by GreenTech ITM. It features built in irrigation and drainage. The pitch itself was laid on top of some 7,412 pallets that could be moved so the stadium could be used for concerts, exhibitions and other events.
A statue of Sir Tasker Watkins, the former WRU president between 1993 and 2004, was commissioned to stand outside Gate 3 of the stadium. The bronze statue, 9 feet (2.7 m) tall, was sculpted by Llantwit Major based sculptor Roger Andrews. The Assembly Government contributed £25,000, as did Cardiff Council. It was official unveiled on 15 November 2009 by his daughter, Lady Mair Griffith-Williams.
In May 2014, after much trouble with disease and stability, the surface was removed and replaced with a more resilient interwoven sand based Desso pitch.
Played host to the Welsh national football team for the first time on 29 March 2000. Jari Litmanen scored the stadium’s first international goal in a 2-1 triumph for Finland.
UEFA capacity: 74,500
Tenants: Wales, Wales rugby
Opened In: June 1999