FAI to bid to host Euro 2020 games
Soccer: Uefa has confirmed Euro 2020 will be held across 13 countries but the semi-finals and final will be played at the same stadium.
Host countries will not qualify automatically but if they do make it to the finals, their national team will be guaranteed to play at least two of three group matches at home, Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino said in Nyon, Switzerland, today.
The board of the FAI has formally approved an association bid to host games, with the Aviva Stadium just meeting the key criteria of a 50,000 capacity. Two host cities can have a stadium capacity as low as 30,000, but 10 stadiums will have a 50,000 minimum capacity and four of those will need to hold at least 60,000 for the quarter-finals.
The stadium that hosts the two semi-finals and final will have to be able to seat more than 70,000 fans.
Wembley Stadium is to bid to stage the showpiece of the tournament, and is expected to face rival bids from Rome, Berlin, Madrid and Istanbul.
“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," Infantino said today. “There will be only one venue per country, and it means the semi-finals and final will be played in the same venue.”
Istanbul is favourite for the final - but only if it loses its bid for the 2020 Olympics. Uefa president Michel Platini has already said he would back the Turkish city and he confirmed his position again today.
He said: “That would be my vote, but if they get the Olympic Games it’s out of the question that they could stage the Euros or a match.”
Cardiff and Glasgow are also expected to bid to host group matches at Euro 2020, while the English FA will also bid for group matches and quarter-finals if its final bid for Wembley is unsuccessful.
The bidding requirements will be decided at a meeting of Uefa’s executive committee on March 28th. It is expected bidding cities will have to provide an airport with two terminals or two different airports in order to keep rival fans apart - something that could pose a problem for Cardiff.
Infantino also confirmed that no national team will be qualified automatically for the tournament, and there will be a maximum of two host teams per group. He said the allocation of hosting teams will take travel distances into account with a maximum flight time of two hours where possible.
A decision on the host cities will be taken in September next year.
Uefa also confirmed the 10 venues for Euro 2016 as Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis (Stade de France), Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.