Thursday 14 December 2017

Dublin in the running to host Euro 2020

UEFA confirm finals will be hosted by 20 cities across continent

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

DUBLIN could be one of the host cities at Euro 2020 after UEFA confirmed their decision to stage the tournament across the continent.

The FAI look set to enter the bidding process to stage matches at the Aviva Stadium for a tournament which will be spread throughout 20 cities.

The long-mooted decision to change from the tradition of staging the international events in one or two host countries was confirmed at a meeting of UEFA's Ex-Co committee in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

It was backed by 53 of the 54 members, with Turkey the only nation not in favour. The Turks had expressed an interest in hosting the tournament, but also have a bid to hold the Olympics in Istanbul that year.

The FAI had also expressed an interest in hosting the tournament along with Scotland and Wales, but the prospect of a tri-party bid succeeding always looked unlikely.

The association were happy with UEFA's decision to spread the tournament around and are hoping that it means that the Lansdowne Road venue, the venue for last year's Europa League final, will be one of the host stadia.

"We welcome the news. We are interested in being a host venue and this development takes that prospect into concrete territory," an FAI spokesman said.

UEFA will begin the bidding process next March, with the decision to be made in spring 2014, with Wembley the early favourite to host the final.

Lansdowne Road is the 34th biggest football stadium in Europe, but Ireland could benefit by UEFA's desire to spread the tournament throughout the continent.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said after the meeting: "Some important decisions have been taken. Euro 2020 will be staged across the continent, in various major cities.

"A Euro for Europe follows an initial idea by UEFA president Michel Platini.

"The response has been extremely positive from all the national associations."

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