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Wembley faces stiff competition to hold Euro 2020 finals

25 Jan 2013 08:17:03

Wembley faces stiff competition to hold Euro 2020 finals

Wembley Stadium is expected to face rival bids from Rome, Berlin and Madrid as well as Istanbul to host the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final.

Planners for the tournament, which for the first time is to be held in 13 countries across Europe instead of in one or two countries, want the three matches at the climax to be held in a single stadium.

Wembley has a strong chance - but if Istanbul fails to win its 2020 Olympic bid then it would be viewed as the favourite. UEFA sources say Berlin, Madrid and Rome are also weighing up bids.

The tournament planners have recommended that Euro 2020 venues must be served by an airport with at least two terminals to keep rival fans apart - meaning that Cardiff's Millennium Stadium would face a struggle to be chosen as one of the 13 cities.

The Welsh FA would have to argue that Bristol or even airports further afield could be used as an alternative for fans. Dublin and Glasgow are also expected to bid to host group matches at Euro 2020 but do not have the same issue with airports.

The Football Association will also bid for group matches and quarter-finals if its final bid is unsuccessful.

Two cities with smaller-capacity stadiums will be among the 13 chosen in an effort to broaden the reach of the tournament. Two host cities can have a stadium capacity as low as 30,000, 10 stadiums will have a 50,000 minimum capacity and those hosting the quarter-finals will have grounds holding 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 is expected to agree to the plans at its 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.

Planners believe that host countries will be able to play at least two of their group matches at home.


PA

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