Dublin loses Euro 2020 hosting rights as Wembley gains extra game

Wembley will take on Dublin’s Euro 2020 last-16 match on June 29, UEFA has announced.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 1:32 pm

It means England could play their first four matches of the finals at Wembley if they win Group D, before potentially moving to Rome for the quarter-finals.

The semi-finals and final are also due to be played at the London venue.

Dublin’s group matches have been reassigned to St Petersburg.

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File photo dated 11-10-2020 of General view of the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

The Irish capital has been unable to provide minimum capacity assurances to UEFA and has been stripped of hosting rights.

Bilbao’s four matches have been switched to Seville while Munich has now provided guarantees that at least 14,500 will be able to attend the four matches it is hosting, including a quarter-final on July 2.

The decision means Wembley will now host eight matches – three group games, two last 16 ties, the semis and the final. St Petersburg now has seven matches.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “We have been working diligently with the host associations and local authorities to ensure a safe and festive environment at the games and I am really pleased that we are able to welcome spectators at all matches for a celebration of national team football across the continent.”

Ceferin added: “UEFA wishes to express its appreciation and gratitude to the cities of Bilbao and Dublin – both of which are considered as good venues to host future UEFA events – the national and regional governments of Spain and the Republic of Ireland, and all local stakeholders for their dedication, professionalism and efforts over the past years.

“UEFA would also like to thank the Football Association of Ireland and its dedicated staff for their excellent collaboration and hard work, and is looking forward to continuing to work with the remaining 11 host associations in delivering EURO 2020 matches.”

UEFA said tickets for matches in Bilbao and Dublin would be cancelled and refunded, and those ticket buyers will receive priority access to tickets in the reassigned venues.

UEFA said the Andalusian regional authorities had told it the venue in Seville – La Cartuja stadium – would be at 30 per cent capacity.

St Petersburg has previously confirmed a minimum capacity of 50 per cent for its Krestovsky Stadium, and could be in a position to increase that by the end of the month.

The Football Association has targeted a capacity of 22,500 for its group games and last 16 ties, and is looking at 45,000 as a minimum for the semi-finals and final.

Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said: “Preparations for the hosting of the EURO 2020 games in Dublin were at an advanced stage when the pandemic hit and UEFA took the decision on March 17, 2020 to postpone the tournament.

“Work on the tournament in Dublin continued into 2021 and we were hopeful that we were all set to host a fantastic tournament in Dublin in June.

“However, despite our commitment to hosting the games the public health situation has meant that we were not able to give UEFA the assurances they required earlier this month in relation to guaranteeing minimum spectator attendance levels at EURO 2020 in Dublin. I would like to take this opportunity to wish UEFA and all of the other host cities well with EURO 2020 and look forward to an exciting tournament in the summer.”

Football Association of Ireland chief executive Jonathan Hill added: “The Dublin LOS (local organising structure) partners have worked tirelessly together since the pandemic first struck last year to facilitate the staging of these games.

“The reality here is that circumstances beyond our control have led to the games being moved and we have to acknowledge that public health must come first in a global pandemic.

“This is the end of the EURO 2020 project but the dedication and professionalism of all involved makes everyone at the FAI more determined than ever to bring big games and big tournaments to our country and I am delighted that UEFA have recognised our endeavours by agreeing to work with us on big projects for Dublin and Ireland in the future including the staging of a UEFA club (competition) final at the Aviva Stadium after 2023 which is something to really look forward to as we enter our centenary year.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed an additional match coming to Wembley and said: “London is the sporting capital of the world, so of course when Dublin sadly had to withdraw as a venue for the Euros we stepped up.

“It’s fantastic that an additional knockout game will be played at Wembley this summer. Now let’s hope we top our group so it can be a home game for England.”

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