Euro 2020: Dublin’s loss, London’s gain


Additional game for Wembley after Dublin drop Image: Wembley Stadium

The iconic Wembley Stadium in London (UK) will play host to an additional Euro 2020 last-16 match which was originally due to be staged in Dublin (Ireland). This was informed by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Executive Committee recently after Ireland’s Government was unable to assure organizers that the 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium in Dublin would be at least a quarter full for its four scheduled games as COVID-19 continues to hammer the European island.

‘Sky Sports’ stated that England could play their first four matches of the finals at the Wembley Stadium if they win Group D, before moving to Rome (Italy) for the quarter-finals. The semi-finals and finals are also due to be played at the London venue.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe. It is one of the six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

The UEFA Euro 2020 was postponed in March 2020 due to the global outbreak of coronavirus. As per the revised dates, it will be taking place from June 11th to July 11th, 2021.

Prize catch

The ‘Wembley Stadium’ stated that all three of England’s games in Group D will take place at the Wembley Stadium as previously planned. First up is Croatia on June 13th (2 pm kickoff), before the ‘Three Lions’ then face Scotland (UK) on June 18th at 8 pm. The group stage will conclude against the Czech Republic on June 22nd, with kickoff also at 8 pm.

‘Three Lions’ is a song released in 1996 as a single by the English band ‘The Lightning Seeds’ to mark the England football team’s hosting of that year’s European Championships.

The ‘Wembley Stadium’ further stated that the winners of Group D will play their last-16 tie at Wembley Stadium on June 29th, while the runners-up will head to Copenhagen (Denmark) a day earlier on June 28th. If England finishes third, they could still progress and would either head to Budapest (Hungary) or Glasgow (UK).

The quarter-finals will take place in Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), St Petersburg (Russia), and Munich (Germany) on July 2nd and July 3rd, with the semi-finals both being held at Wembley Stadium on July 6th and July 7th. The final, also at Wembley Stadium, is on July 11th.

The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London (UK). It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the FA Cup Final.

Dublin, Bilbao misses Euro 2020 bus

Dublin’s group matches have been reassigned to St Petersburg in Russia, with UEFA later confirming the switch.

‘Sky Sports’ further stated that the Irish capital Dublin failed to provide minimum capacity assurances to the UEFA and has been stripped of hosting rights.

Reacting to the UEFA announcement, Catherine Martin, Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, 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 17th, 2020 to postpone the tournament.”

Martin added, “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 the other entire host Cities well with Euro 2020 and look forward to an exciting tournament in the summer.”

Bilbao (Spain) four matches have been switched within the country to Seville, while Munich (Germany) has assured that at least 14,500 onlookers will be able to grace each of the four matches it is hosting, including a quarter-final on July 2nd.

The decision translates into the fact that the Wembley Stadium will now stage eight matches – three group games, two last-16 ties, both semis, and the final, while St Petersburg now has seven matches in its kitty.

The Football Association (FA) Chief Executive Mark Bullingham said it was “positive news” that the Wembley Stadium had been awarded an additional match.

Bullingham said he wanted Wembley Stadium to be a full house for the final but that it was down to the authorities to decide if spectator numbers would be increased for the latter stages of the tournament as the coronavirus situation gets better in the United Kingdom.

The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

A final decision on whether UEFA will announce that more fans will be in the stands for the knockout stages is expected on June 2nd.

Exulted Bullingham, “We’re delighted to be able to help UEFA. They asked us a couple of weeks ago. It’s fantastic to get another game at Wembley and it’s another chance for fans to experience the Euros. It’s an incredibly tough route to the final. It’s really positive news.”

Added Bullingham, “Our hope is to get higher numbers for the last 16, semi-finals and final. Our hope is at least 50 percent but that’s for the authorities to decide. We would love the final to be full, if the authorities would allow that. We want as many fans as possible to experience the Euros.”

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin maintained, “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.”

Added Čeferin, “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 (FAI) 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 stated that tickets for matches in Bilbao and Dublin would be canceled and refunded, and those ticket buyers will receive priority access to tickets in the reassigned arenas.

Out of the original 12 host Cities, 10 across the continent remain selected as venues, with Dublin and Bilbao dropped, and Seville added.

Amsterdam (Netherlands), Baku (Azerbaijan), Seville (Spain), Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Copenhagen (Denmark), Glasgow (UK), London (UK), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), and Saint Petersburg (Russia) are the host Cities for the Euro 2020 sporting extraordinaire.

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