The Aviva Stadium will not play host to any European Championship games this summer, Uefa has confirmed. Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Change Of Plan

Dublin loses hosting rights for this summer's European Championship

Meanwhile the FAI have announced Uefa will provide a €500,000 investment in the redevelopment of Dalymount Park.

LAST UPDATE | Apr 23rd 2021, 7:00 PM

DUBLIN IS NO longer among the host cities for the forthcoming European Championship, with confirmation arriving from Uefa earlier today.

However there was some good news for Irish football with the FAI announcing a commitment from Uefa to finance a €500,000 investment in the redevelopment of Dalymount Park. The funding comes as part of a Euro 2020 Legacy Project.

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium was scheduled to play host to three group-stage fixtures of the postponed Euro 2020 tournament, as well as one in the last-16 round.

The three Group E games involving Poland, Slovakia and Sweden have been moved to St Petersburg in Russia.

Dublin was also in line to host a knockout-stage fixture that could potentially feature England, which has been moved to Wembley.

Uefa confirmed its decision today following a meeting of the executive committee of European football’s governing body after Dublin and Bilbao could not guarantee fan presence at games.

It comes after the Irish government was unable to provide assurances that the Aviva Stadium could accommodate spectators at a minimum of 25% of its capacity due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s been well flagged in the last number of weeks that we weren’t able to give the assurances of quarter-full stadia,” said Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers on RTÉ Radio 1.

“So that would be 11,000 for example in the Aviva. We weren’t able to in the context of the current restrictions and predicting a number of weeks forward.

“Obviously, we are trying to re-open a lot of society but being able to leapfrog into having 11,000 people in one place and giving the assurances around that wasn’t possible at this point. 

“We have to respect the public health position on that,” he added.

Bilbao’s games will be held in Seville instead.

“Seville and San Petersburg – officially” tweeted Uefa vice-president and Polish FA official Zbigniew Boniek. “There is a bit of work ahead of us, we start over, camp, journeys, all logistics.”

The tournament, which begins on 11 June, was due to be staged across 12 European cities. It was delayed by a year because of the pandemic, but Uefa proceeded with the initial hosting plans on the condition that host cities could guarantee the presence of fans.

“We’d always hoped,” said Chambers. “There’s been a phenomenal amount of work to put this in place. 

“We’re disappointed that this will happen. But we have to be honest about what’s possible in the pandemic. 

“I’d be confident that Uefa will use the Aviva in the future. There’s engagement between the FAI and Uefa on the broader piece on this.”

However, Chambers added that he was optimistic we’ll see crowds back at sporting events during the summer.

“We’ve put in a phenomenal amount of work. From the autumn of last year the FAI, IRFU and GAA with the Department of Sport and medical experts, we’ve a return to spectators plan,” he said.

“The Ferguson Report in antigen testing will compliment that and I think we will have spectators back at games this summer. 

“Say you were to do it in June for example, to do 11,000 in June as a start for an event would be an extraordinary step-up. We will be doing test events in the summer, obviously we’ll be able to give an indication closer to the time.”

The FAI confirmed the Legacy Project funding for Dalymount Park this evening. 

An FAI statement said the funding had been secured by FAI CEO Jonathan Hill during discussions with Uefa around the decision to move the Euro 2020 games out of Dublin.

“I am delighted to announce that Uefa has allocated a €500,000 investment for the FAI to make in the Dalymount Park project,” Hill said.

“When we won the Euro 2020 bid in partnership with Dublin City Council and the Government seven years ago a fitting legacy project was key and of course a new Dalymount Park, such an iconic Irish football venue, was the chosen project and a fitting one.

“We will now invest this €500,000 into the project to build a new Dalymount Park and I know this announcement will be welcomed by Bohemians and Shelbourne football clubs, by Dublin City Council and by Ministers Catherine Martin and Jack Chambers and by Government.” 

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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