London's Wembley Stadium (file photo). Tim Goode
future plans

London's Wembley among venues to host future Champions League finals

The Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg and the Allianz Arena in Munich were also selected.

THE 2021 UEFA Champions League final will be played in Saint Petersburg, European football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.

The venues for the next three finals after the 2020 decider in Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium were revealed at Uefa’s Executive Committee meeting in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

Munich has awarded the 2022 showpiece and the 2023 final being given to Wembley.

In awarding the venues for the next three years, Uefa have had to take into account not just the likely demand for match tickets but also the importance of hotel rooms and transport infrastructure.

That means there are a limited number of cities around Europe capable of successfully staging a match of such magnitude.

“The chosen venues have proper mobility, hotels and everything else. Where we have a problem, and probably will have a problem anywhere, is that sometimes hotels take advantage of the fact the Champions League final is in a certain city,” admitted Uefa president Aleksandar Ceferin.

I am sure that if you check those three cities in half an hour you will see that hotel prices have already started to rise.

“This is a problem but it is hard for us to influence. That is why we want to go to such big cities with so many hotels that in the end you can choose.

“Those venues are big cities, interesting cities, accessible for the fans and with very nice stadiums,” he added, although he said he “cannot do any promises for now” in terms of increasing ticket allocations for supporters.

This season’s final will be played in Istanbul, before hosting is given to the 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg.

The venue, complete with a retractable roof, was built ahead of the 2018 World Cup held in Russia. It hosted seven matches at that tournament, including France’s semi-final win over Belgium and will also host four games at Euro 2020.

It will be the second Champions League final to be played in Russia after Manchester United beat Chelsea in Moscow to win the trophy in 2008.

The 70,000-seat Allianz Arena in Munich is also a host venue for Euro 2020 and staged the 2012 Champions League final when Bayern Munich lost on penalties to Chelsea.

The 2023 final will be the eighth to be held at Wembley, with the iconic 90,000-seat London venue also hosting the semi-finals and final of next year’s European Championship.

Meanwhile, European football’s governing body also revealed that the 2021 Europa League final will be played in Seville, at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

The Spanish city was chosen ahead of Georgian capital Tbilisi as the game returns to western Europe — after being staged in Baku last season, next year’s final will go to the Polish city of Gdansk.

The 2021 Uefa Super Cup match — between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League — will be played in Belfast.

© AFP 2019  

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