UEFA confirmed that Seville will replace Bilbao as the venue for the next European Championship, in which Munich remains as host and the matches that were to be played in Dublin will be played in St. Petersburg and London.
As decided by the UEFA Executive Committee meeting this Friday, the La Cartuja stadium in Seville will be the alternative venue to San Mamés in the competition, in which Munich has confirmed a minimum of 14,500 spectators to host matches.
UEFA explained that the four matches that were to be played in Bilbao, the Spanish national team’s three group stage matches in Group E and one in the round of 16, will be moved to Seville’s La Cartuja stadium, with the support of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, which has confirmed its intention to allow spectators at 30% of the stadium’s capacity.
“Following the decision of the local authorities, it became clear that it was highly unlikely that fans would be able to attend the matches that were scheduled to be played there. Therefore, with the assistance of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), UEFA proposed to move those matches to another venue in that host country, simply so that fans could attend the matches after a year without being able to watch live soccer in the stadiums,” UEFA stated.
In a statement, it said that “this decision will create a festive atmosphere at all matches in UEFA’s most important national team competition”.
Spain will therefore play in La Cartuja against Sweden on June 14, against Poland on June 19 and against Slovakia on June 23.
Two days ago, in a joint statement, the City Council of Bilbao, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Basque Government announced the “unilateral” decision of UEFA, which they do not share, and announced that they will enforce the contract they signed with this organization to ask for financial compensation.
The UEFA Executive Committee also decided that the three Group E matches initially scheduled for Dublin (Poland-Slovakia, Sweden-Slovakia and Sweden-Poland) will be relocated to the St. Petersburg stadium, which will also host three Group B matches and one quarter-final.
The Round of 16 match that was also to be played in Dublin will be moved to London’s Wembley Stadium, which will host the semifinals (July 6 and 7) and the final (July 11).
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said it had “worked diligently with the host associations and local authorities to ensure a safe and festive environment for the matches” and was “very pleased to be able to welcome spectators to all matches to celebrate international soccer across the continent”.
UEFA expressed “its appreciation and gratitude to the cities of Bilbao and Dublin – both considered 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.”
He also thanked the Football Association of Ireland “for their excellent collaboration and hard work” and said he “looks forward to continuing to work with the remaining eleven host associations to organize the UEFA EURO 2020 matches,” which will be played from June 11 to July 11.
He also confirmed that all ticket purchasers for the matches to be played in Bilbao and Dublin will receive a full refund for the face value of their cancelled tickets and that they will have priority access, on a first-come, first-served basis, for the sale of the relocated matches.