Belfast to host Super Cup final in 2021

Decision to stage prestigious fixture at National Football Stadium warmly welcomed by the IFA

Belfast’s National Football Stadium, formerly known as Windsor Park, has been chosen to  host the European Super Cup final in 2021. Photograph:  Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images

Belfast’s National Football Stadium, formerly known as Windsor Park, has been chosen to host the European Super Cup final in 2021. Photograph: Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images

 

Uefa has announced that Windsor Park in Belfast, officially known these days as the National Football Stadium, will host the Super Cup in 2021.

The game is the traditional curtain raiser for the new season of international club competitions played between the winners of the previous campaign’s Champions League and Europa League finals.

The match was for many years played annually in Monaco but since 2013 has been moved around, going to stadiums, and often cities, that would not expect to win the right to host a final of one of Uefa’s main club competitions with Skopje, Trondheim and Tbilisi amongst the cities to stage the event over the past few years.

Winning the right to host the match will be viewed as a significant success for the IFA which would have been hindered by the limited capacity, just 18,500, of the recently renovated ground.

“This is fantastic news for everyone at the association, the city of Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole,” said IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson. “It is a huge feather in our cap.”

The decision was taken on Tuesday in Ljubljana at a meeting of Uefa’s Executive Committee, effectively the organisation’s board which John Delaney was elected to a couple of years ago but from which he is now essentially suspended.

At the meeting it was also decided to stage the Champions League finals for 2021, ’21 and ’23 in St Petersburg, Munich and Wembley respectively.

There was good news for the FAI too with confirmation that the Nations League has been reorganised so that in the next edition of the competition there will be three divisions of 16 teams, again generally divided into groups of four, and just one of seven.

The change means that the Republic of Ireland will be saved from relegation to the third division after their poor performances against Denmark and Wales last year, something that spares the already badly cash-strapped association having to try to sell tickets for games against some of the continent’s less attractive sides.

There was also approval for the new, third tier Uefa club competition, to be titled the Europa Conference League, which is to be played on Thursday evenings from 2021/21 onwards.

The new competition should make it slightly easier for clubs from countries like Ireland to get group stage football although not in the Champions or Europa Leagues. Prize money for the new competition has yet to be announced.

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