"It speaks volumes about our great city that London has been awarded an additional four Euro 2020 matches, reinforcing the capital’s reputation as the sporting capital of the world"
– Sadiq Khan, mayor of London
Four extra Euro 2020 matches will be hosted at Wembley Stadium, after UEFA said it could wait no longer for Brussels to confirm timescales for a new stadium.
The UEFA Executive Committee today (7 December) confirmed Wembley will host three group stage games and one round of 16 fixture, all originally scheduled for Belgium, in addition to existing plans to stage the semi-finals and final in London.
While the FA celebrated the news, the Football Association of Wales released a statement saying it was “extremely disappointed” its bid to host the four matches at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff had been unsuccessful. Stockholm, Sweden, was the only other bidder.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition, Euro 2020 will be the first European Championship to be held across multiple countries. Wembley is one of 12 venues across 12 different cities that will host the 24 nations competing at the Euros.
“We’re delighted to help UEFA by hosting the additional four matches at Wembley Stadium,” said Martin Glenn, chief executive of the FA.
“It’s an honour to be one of the 12 nations that will play a part in this prestigious ‘Euro for Europe’ tournament and I’d like to thank the UEFA Executive Committee for giving us the opportunity to stage these games.”
He promised “open, inclusive and memorable events for the fans at one of the world’s greatest stadiums”.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “It speaks volumes about our great city that London has been awarded an additional four Euro 2020 matches, reinforcing the capital’s reputation as the sporting capital of the world.”
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch added: “With matches being played across Europe for the 60th anniversary of the competition, it will be a very special tournament and I know we’ll give fans a warm welcome when they visit England's iconic national stadium.”
The FA said it will now begin planning with the mayor “to deliver a programme of community activity to capitalise on bringing more fixtures to London”.
First published www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, written by Rob Gibson, 07 Dec 2017