Euro 2020: Wembley to stage extra knockout game in tournament after Dublin dropped as host city by UEFA

Dublin loses its four scheduled Euro 2020 matches at Aviva Stadium due to ongoing coronavirus issues; England to play last-16 tie at Wembley if they win their group; St Petersburg to host other three matches; Bilbao games moved to Seville

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Sky Sports' Craig Slater reports as Wembley is granted an extra Euro 2020 knock-out fixture, after Dublin was dropped as a host city by UEFA.

Wembley Stadium will stage an additional Euro 2020 last-16 match which was originally due to be staged in Dublin, a UEFA Exco committee decided on Friday, after Ireland's government was unable to assure organisers that the Aviva Stadium would be at least a quarter full for its four scheduled games.

England could play their first four matches of the finals at Wembley if they win Group D, before moving to Rome for the quarter-finals.

The semi-finals and final are also due to be played at the London venue.

Dublin's group matches have been reassigned to St Petersburg, with UEFA later confirming the switch.

AP - Aviva Stadium
Image: UEFA required the 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium in Dublin to be at least a quarter full for its four games

The Irish capital has been unable to provide minimum capacity assurances to UEFA and has been stripped of hosting rights.

Reacting to the UEFA announcement, Catherine Martin - Ireland's Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media - said: "Preparations for the hosting of the Euro 2020 games in Dublin were at an advanced stage when the pandemic hit and UEFA took the decision on March 17, 2020, to postpone the tournament.

"Work on the tournament in Dublin continued into 2021 and we were hopeful that we were all set to host a fantastic tournament in Dublin in June.

"However, despite our commitment to hosting the games, the public health situation has meant that we were not able to give UEFA the assurances they required earlier this month in relation to guaranteeing minimum spectator attendance levels at Euro 2020 in Dublin.

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"I would like to take this opportunity to wish UEFA and all of the other host cities well with Euro 2020 and look forward to an exciting tournament in the summer."

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FIFA council member Alexey Sorokin, who leads the organising committee in St Petersburg, reflects on the last 12 months and the disruption to Euro 2020

Bilbao's four matches have been switched to Seville, while Munich has now provided guarantees that at least 14,500 fans will be able to attend each of the four matches it is hosting, including a quarter-final on July 2.

The decision means Wembley will now host eight matches - three group games, two last-16 ties, both semis, and the final, while St Petersburg now has seven matches.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said it was "positive news" that Wembley had been awarded an additional match.

Bullingham said he was keen to see a full national stadium for the final but that it was down to the authorities to decide if spectator numbers would be increased for the latter stages of the tournament.

A final decision on whether UEFA will announce that more fans will be in grounds for the knockout stages is expected on June 2.

Mark Bullingham is the CEO of the FA
Image: FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said it was 'positive news' that Wembley had been awarded an additional match

"We're delighted to be able to help UEFA. They asked us a couple of weeks ago. It's fantastic to get another game at Wembley and it's another chance for fans to experience the Euros. It's an incredibly tough route to the final. It's really positive news," Bullingham said.

"Our hope is to get higher numbers for the last 16, semi-finals and final. Our hope is at least 50 per cent but that's for the authorities to decide.

"We would love the final to be full, if the authorities would allow that. We want as many fans as possible to experience the Euros."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "We have been working diligently with the host associations and local authorities to ensure a safe and festive environment at the games and I am really pleased that we are able to welcome spectators at all matches for a celebration of national team football across the continent."

Ceferin added: "UEFA wishes to express its appreciation and gratitude to the cities of Bilbao and Dublin - both of which are considered as good venues to host future UEFA events - the national and regional governments of Spain and the Republic of Ireland, and all local stakeholders for their dedication, professionalism and efforts over the past years.

St Petersburg's Krestovsky Stadium will now host seven games at Euro 2020
Image: St Petersburg's Krestovsky Stadium will now host seven games at Euro 2020

"UEFA would also like to thank the Football Association of Ireland and its dedicated staff for their excellent collaboration and hard work, and is looking forward to continuing to work with the remaining 11 host associations in delivering Euro 2020 matches."

UEFA said tickets for matches in Bilbao and Dublin would be cancelled and refunded, and those ticket buyers will receive priority access to tickets in the reassigned venues.

When and where is Euro 2020?

The 16th UEFA European Championship runs from June 11 to July 11, 2021. Out of the original 12 host cities, 10 across the continent remain selected as venues, with Dublin and Bilbao dropped, and Seville added.

The 11 cities and stadiums for the tournament are:

  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Johan Cruyff Arena
  • Baku (Azerbaijan) - Olympic Stadium
  • Bucharest (Romania) - Arena Nationala
  • Budapest (Hungary) - Puskas Arena
  • Copenhagen (Denmark) - Parken Stadium
  • Glasgow (Scotland) - Hampden Park
  • London (England) - Wembley Stadium
  • Munich (Germany) - Allianz Arena
  • Rome (Italy) - Stadio Olimpico
  • Saint Petersburg (Russia) - Krestovsky Stadium
  • Seville (Spain) - Estadio La Cartuja
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