The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has expressed its interest and hopes of hosting fans in the stadium as the Euro 2020 kicks-off in Dublin next summer. The Aviva Stadium or most commonly known as Lansdowne Road venue is due to host three Group E games and a round of 16 clash in the postponedtournament. The EURO 2020 will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.
The FAI interim CEO Gary Owens has high hopes of bringing fans in stadiums as Dublin hosts Euro 2020 next summer following UEFA’s bid to pilot the return of spectators in the upcoming Super Cup. The Supercup will be the first occasion where fans are allowed back into stadiums for UEFA. Bayern won the Champions League and will play Europa League winner Sevilla in the Super Cup on Sept. 24 with fans.
“Next week’s game is going to be quite important,” said Owens. “I was on a UEFA conference call last Wednesday and they are still expecting fans to be attending games (at the Euros) next June so we obviously have to work here with local government and the expert medical group and NPHET. We will have to feed that in.
With an all-seated capacity of more than 50,000, the Aviva Stadium has been home to the Republic of Ireland’s football and rugby union teams since opening in 2010. It held the all-Portuguese 2011 UEFA Europa League final. Matches to be staged in this arena are: Poland v Play-off winner B; Sweden v Play-off winner B; Sweden v Poland; Round of 16 1D v 2F.
Reports claim that the FAI has lost €19m as a result of the coronavirus and the subsequent fallout with €4m of that suffered by clubs and a similar figure will be required to ensure that the League of Ireland outfits remain viable entities in 2021. The FAI boss made the point at an Oireachtas committee gathering called to address the impact of the pandemic on Ireland’s sporting sector.
“That’s why I feel next week is important in terms of the pilot test for 20,000. They are doing that on the basis that they have an eye on the Euros next year. So as things stand today, we are still expecting to hold the Euros here next year with fans and we have a challenge in trying to convince everybody that that will happen,” Owens added.
The matches of the 2020 Euro Cup were initially scheduled to be held at stadiums in 12 different cities across Europe, namely in London (England), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), St. Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Glasgow (Scotland) and Copenhagen (Denmark).
Earlier, following the on-going talks between the UEFA and government officials regarding the hosting of the postponed European Championships, the Irish government has reiterated its desire to stage part of the tournament in Dublin after the event was rescheduled for the summer of 2021. The venues for the said competition to be staged next year confirmed to be the same.