Dublin gets Euro boost, Wembley to host final

UEFA president Michel Platini’s vision of a European Championship spread across the continent came to fruition in Geneva yesterday, as Wembley Stadium was chosen to host the climax of Euro 2020 with 12 other cities — including Dublin — joining the party.

Dublin gets Euro boost, Wembley to host final

The 90,000-seater Wembley, rebuilt from 2003 to 2007 and venue of the 2011 and 2013 Champions League finals, will stage both semi-finals and the final of the 60th anniversary tournament dubbed a ‘Euro for Europe’.

It will be the first time in the competition’s history when a tournament will be hosted by more than two countries.

Wembley got the nod over Munich’s Allianz Arena, the other stadium initially bidding for semi-finals and final hosting rights, amid reports the Germans had stood aside to focus on their bid for the Euro 2024 finals.

But Munich was one of the 12 cities awarded standard packages, comprising three group matches and a knockout round tie.

The home of Bayern Munich will host a quarter-final, as will the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan, Rome’s Olympic Stadium and the Zenit Arena in St Petersburg, Russia.

Last 16 ties and group games will take place in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Bilbao, Budapest, Brussels Glasgow and, of course, in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium along with bids from Stockholm, Skopje, Jerusalem, Sofia and Minsk were all rejected.

The vote for Wembley comes as a welcome tonic for the English FA after its failed bids to host the 2006 and 2018 World Cup finals but FA chairman Greg Dyke denied any deal had been done with their German counterparts, the DFB.

“There is no deal,” Dyke told reporters at the ceremony in Geneva. “Other than we will not bid (to stage) Euro 2024 because it would be a waste of time because we wouldn’t get it.”

Dyke, however, did hint England would support a German bid to host the 2024 tournament. DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach, whose federation are believed to have pulled out from trying to host final and semi-final games with an eye on a 2024 bid, said: “I am very satisfied and happy that we could convince UEFA with our bid and have in 2020, after 32 years, European championship games again in Germany.”

England has hosted only one major tournament since the 1966 World Cup, the much-praised Euro 96, the final of which between Germany and the Czech Republic was played at the former Wembley.

“It’s nice to win one,” Dyke said. “Wembley is a great stadium and we are delighted to be hosting the finals of this tournament. Wembley has been completely rebuilt since ‘96 and it’s now a beautiful stadium.

“I would also like to say what a good idea this is when you sit and watch all these capital cities across Europe, what a good idea to play a tournament across all those, so congratulations to UEFA. This bidding process was open to more than 50 UEFA countries so for Wembley to be ultimately recognised in this way is testament to a lot of hard work behind the scenes,” Dyke added.

“It will be a great honour to be part of what will surely be a superb celebration of 60 years of the European Championship.”

There was relief too for Russia, given the current conflict near its border with Ukraine.

“I want to congratulate all supporters of Russian Football,” Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko said. “Of course, there was a chance that because of the current political situation, the powers would refuse to let us host matches at Euro 2020. But we are really happy that the world of sport and politics are kept separate.”

The choice of Rome’s Olympic Stadium for a quarter-final match, follows on from Thursday’s UEFA announcement Milan’s San Siro would be the venue for the 2016 Champions League final.

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