Wednesday 21 November 2018

History is made after capital chosen for Euro 2020

Golden goal for Dublin with €100m boost from soccer championship

The FAI have won their bid to host three Euro 2020 group matches and one round of 16 fixture to the Aviva Stadium. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
The FAI have won their bid to host three Euro 2020 group matches and one round of 16 fixture to the Aviva Stadium. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
The Aviva Stadium, which hosted the 2011 Europa League final between FC Porto and SC Braga, will be the venue for three Euro 2020 group games and one round of 16 fixture. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Michael Staines and Kirsty Blake Knox

DUBLIN City is set for a financial boost of up to €100m after UEFA confirmed the Aviva Stadium will host four Euro 2020 football fixtures.

The tournament will be spread across Europe for the first time to mark its 60th anniversary.

Dublin is one of eight cities chosen to host three group stage matches and one last-16 fixture.

The tournament will be shared between 13 host cities with Wembley Stadium in London hosting the semi-finals and final. London was selected "by acclamation" after the German FA stood aside in exchange for English support for their Euro 2024 bid.

Due to the Europe-wide spread of the championships, every host nation will have to qualify for the tournament.

Should they qualify, Ireland will be guaranteed two group games in Dublin after UEFA confirmed a maximum of two host teams will be allowed in each group.

FAI CEO John Delaney said it will be a "tremendous honour" to host the matches in a year that coincides with the FAI's 100-year anniversary. "It's an historic day. We've achieved a holy grail really that I think in the past, people would have felt we couldn't achieve," he said.

“We had a good degree of confidence going in today but when Dublin comes out and you see Dublin there in front of the whole of Europe, maybe the whole of the world, it’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling.” Speaking to the Irish Independent,

RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy said the successful bid is a “vindication” of the FAI’s decision to “extend themselves financially” to ensure the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium.

“Although there is massive debt associated with the stadium, the fact that we can facilitate the European Championship is amazing,” he said. “It’s great for the country. It will bring a lot of people in and it’s great for soccer and sport in Ireland.”

The UEFA tournament is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and with a cumulative TV audience of 1.9 billion, only the FIFA World Cup and Summer Olympic Games have a greater global reach.

Delight

Tourism and business representatives have expressed their delight at a decision that could be worth “tens of millions” to Dublin.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce chief executive Gina Quin said the matches could be worth between €50m and €100m to the city “depending on which teams are drawn to play in Dublin.”

“The games will attract tens of thousands of football fans from all over Europe . . . This provides us with an incredible opportunity to demonstrate Dublin’s credentials as a host city for big events and a destination for tourists,” she said.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said the “significant economic impact” of the tournament will be felt throughout the country.

“It is a marvellous opportunity for our nation to be part of one of the world’s top sporting events and a fantastic opportunity for Irish football fans to enjoy such a prestigious event on their own home soil,” he said.

Failte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn said the championships are “a great opportunity” to showcase Ireland on the world stage.”

“I am confident we can provide a fantastic experience and atmosphere for all the overseas fans – before, during and after each game,” he said.

Irish Independent

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