Dublin’s chances of hosting a game at the multi-venue 2020 Euro Championship have been boosted by the news that Uefa are to decree that host cities for the tournament will have to be served by airports with two terminals.
With 13 cities to be involved, the European governing body is anxious to ensure that air travel and airport security for travelling supporters will not be issues.
There was initial confusion yesterday with erroneous reports suggesting that Uefa would admit only cities with two airports for the tournament.
However, it was later clarified that a single airport with two terminals will suffice.
Dublin would appear to be well-placed in this regard, given that Uefa are said to have been impressed with how rival fans of Portuguese sides Porto and Braga were able to be segregated on their passage though Dublin Airport’s two terminals when they flew in to attend the Europa League final at the Aviva Stadium in May 2011.
England’s FA are to bid to host the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley, or group matches and quarter-finals if that is unsuccessful.
Rival bids for the final are expected from Istanbul — the favourite if it is unsuccessful in its 2020 Olympic bid — plus Madrid, Berlin and Rome.
Two cities with smaller-capacity stadiums will be among the 13 chosen as Euro 2020 hosts in an effort to broaden the reach of the tournament, according to sources close to the process.
Officials drawing up plans for the tournament have decreed that two host cities can have a stadium capacity as low as 30,000, that 10 stadiums will have a 50,000 minimum capacity and that four of those hosting the quarter-finals to have grounds of at least 60,000.
The stadium that hosts the two semi-finals and final will have to be able to seat more than 70,000 fans. Uefa’s executive committee are expected to agree to the plans at a meeting on March 28.
The idea in having two 30,000-seater stadiums means smaller countries will be able to enter the bidding — only 21 of the 53 Uefa member nations have stadiums of 50,000 or more.
Tournament planners believe host countries will be able to play at least two of their group matches at home. Uefa will also to try to arrange groups on a geographical basis to avoid long journeys across Europe for fans travelling to games.