Brussels Loses Hosting Rights To Euro 2020 Matches, Wembley Awarded Four More Games
Brussels "lost its right to host games" at Euro 2020, with Wembley "now set to stage four more" matches, according to Samuel Lovett of the London INDEPENDENT. The Belgian city was dropped from the 13-nation hosting plan "because of delays in the construction of a new stadium." UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said that the four matches due to be staged in Brussels -- three group games and one last-16 match -- would be played at Wembley instead, in addition to the two semifinals and final already scheduled to be held there. Wembley will "now host a total of seven games" for Euro 2020. UEFA also picked Rome to stage the opening game of the 24-team competition (INDEPENDENT, 12/7).
MISSING PAPERWORK: REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported the building of the Brussels Eurostadium ran into delays "involving the applications for construction and environmental permits." Čeferin said, "We discussed with Brussels for quite a long time and they were not able to provide us with all the documentation. Today we don’t know if they can build a stadium or not. They still don't have the documents. ... They didn't expect a decision until January and they did not know whether that would be yes or no." Belgian FA CEO Koen De Brabander said in a statement that "they did everything they could to make UEFA hold off." He said, "Missing out on Euro 2020 does not necessarily mean a death blow for our stadium plans. We absolutely need a new 45,000-seat stadium and we hope that the competent ministers will grant the permit in January so that a stadium for the 21st century can finally be built in our country" (REUTERS, 12/7). The PA reported Euro 2020’s "unusual" 12-nation format was former UEFA President Michel Platini’s "brainchild -- a one-off gesture to celebrate the tournament’s 60th birthday." As well as deciding where the first game will be and "what to do about the difficulties in Brussels," the exec committee announced where each of the six groups’ games will be played. Baku and Rome will host group A, group B games will take place in Copenhagen and St. Petersburg, Amsterdam and Bucharest get group C, Glasgow and London will share group D, group E will be staged in Bilbao and Dublin, and group F’s fixtures will be in Budapest and Munich (PA, 12/7).
'EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT': In Cardiff, Paul Abbandonato reported Wales expressed its shock and "extreme disappointment" after England was awarded games for Euro 2020. The FA of Wales said that it was its "one and only" opportunity to stage either the finals of the European Championships or World Cup in Wales. The FAW has "called for feedback" from UEFA execs over the decision to "snub the Welsh Case for Cardiff." A "strongly worded" statement from the FAW said, "The concept of taking Euro 2020 to 13 different countries was devised to allow smaller countries, like Wales, to have a unique opportunity of being involved in staging a major tournament. Wales has never staged a Euro or World Cup Finals and this was its one and only chance of doing so" (WALES ONLINE, 12/7).