FAI confirm they will bid to host games

Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 00:00

The FAI have confirmed they will bid to stage Euro 2020 matches at the Aviva Stadium, after welcoming the outline provided by Uefa yesterday of how they will carve up the games between the 13 host nations.

The association, whose board agreed to back a bid last week, will aim to land three group games and a round of 16 match and there appears to be confidence out at Abbotstown of a successful outcome when the venues are announced in September of next year.

Speaking at the organisation’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino outlined the plan for the tournament.

“The matches of the Euro will be split into 13 packages, 12 cities who will have three group-stage matches and one knock-out round match and one city will host the two semi-finals and final. There will be only one venue per country and it means the semi-finals and final will be played in the same venue.”

Associations will be allowed to make two bids, one for the semis and final and one for three group games and one knockout match. The minimum capacity required for the finals package is 70,000, with 60,000 necessary to stage a quarter-final and 50,000 for a round of 16 games.

With only 21 of Uefa’s 53 member associations possessing a stadium of 50,000 or more, however, two of the packages may be awarded to nations bidding on the basis of a venue with at least 30,000 seats.

“The 30,000 rule means that many more countries will be able to bid,” said Uefa president Michel Platini.

Marketing requirements

The Aviva’s capacity is a little over 50,000 but that would almost certainly be reduced to around 47,000 because of media, marketing and segregation requirements, as it was for the Europa League final in 2011.

Still, it is a modern facility with a successful staging of a European final under its belt and the association will draw heavily on that experience as it hits the campaign trail again.

In the event that a host nation qualifies for the tournament then two of that team’s three group games will be staged at home but there will be no guarantees regarding subsequent knockout matches.

Istanbul is currently the favourite to host the semis and final although much will depend on the city’s ongoing bid to host the Olympics that year with Uefa Platini making it clear once more yesterday that it will have the opportunity to do both. Wembley is amongst the other venues confirmed to be in the running for the tournament’s closing three games with Rome, Berlin and Madrid all expected to join the race while the English, Scots and Welsh will all submit bids for other packages too.

The detail of the bidding process and what precisely associations will be expected to provide will be set out by Uefa in March but cities will, it seems, be expected to have an airport with two terminals or more than one airport in order to keep rival fans apart.

Groups are also expected geographically clustered, something that would have a significant effect on the draw for the finals with flight times to be kept to a maximum of two hours where possible, it is said.

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