UEFA moves EURO 2020 games from Dublin
Following a meeting of their Executive Committee this morning, UEFA confirmed to the FAI that the four EURO 2020 games have been moved due to the public health situation in Ireland. UEFA had required an assurance of a minimum of 25 per cent spectator attendance at each game which the Irish Government was unable to meet.
After announcing this decision earlier today, UEFA also confirmed to the FAI that UEFA is welcoming a candidature by Dublin to host one of the European club finals after 2023.
UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis said: “UEFA acknowledge the disappointment within Irish football that we have had to take this decision but we have made a commitment for fans to be part of the UEFA EURO 2020 Tournament. We just cannot have a game without any fans and an empty stadium at EURO 2020. We fully understand that it was very difficult for the Dublin LOS to find a way to make this possible within the necessary timeframe.
"I wish to acknowledge FAI President Gerry McAnaney for his positive and constructive engagement throughout the decision making process this week. We also value how hard CEO Jonathan Hill and the LOS team have worked to try and resolve this issue and we thank everyone within the Dublin LOS and the Irish people for their commitment and support for this project over the last seven years. We look forward to Dublin hosting a UEFA club final in the near future."
Reacting to the UEFA announcement, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said: "Preparations for the hosting of the EURO 2020 games in Dublin were at an advanced stage when the pandemic hit and UEFA took the decision on March 17th 2020 to postpone the tournament. Work on the tournament in Dublin continued into 2021 and we were hopeful that we were all set to host a fantastic tournament in Dublin in June.
"However, despite our commitment to hosting the games the public health situation has meant that we were not able to give UEFA the assurances they required earlier this month in relation to guaranteeing minimum spectator attendance levels at EURO 2020 in Dublin. I would like to take this opportunity to wish UEFA and all of the other host cities well with EURO 2020 and look forward to an exciting tournament in the summer."
Minister of State for Sport & The Gaeltacht Jack Chambers added: "We are all very disappointed with today’s announcement. However, I understand that this was a difficult decision from UEFA’s point of view. I just want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of the people who have worked so hard over the past few years preparing to host the games in Dublin. Partners including the FAI, Dublin City Council, the Aviva Stadium, relevant Government Departments, An Garda Síochána, the NTA, volunteers and UEFA staff in Dublin all showed great commitment to making Dublin a great host city.
"However, given the uncertain times in which we are living it was not possible to deliver the games in the manner UEFA would have wished. I am confident that the experience gained by all concerned will put Ireland in a good position to attract such events in the future."
The FAI and bid partner Dublin City Council won the right back in 2014 to host four games at the Aviva Stadium as part of UEFA’s unique pan-European hosting approach to the 60th anniversary of the EUROs. Accepting today’s announcement by UEFA, FAI CEO Jonathan Hill also thanked all those who have contributed to the project. He said: "This is of course really disappointing news for Irish sport and for everyone who wanted to showcase Ireland to the world this summer. Since 2014 and the bid win, the excitement around EURO 2020 has been growing and I know how much everyone was looking forward to hosting four outstanding fixtures at the Aviva Stadium in June.
"Like Minister Chambers, I must take this opportunity to thank our bid partners in Dublin City Council in particular, along with our fellow LOS partners in Government and the Aviva Stadium for their unstinting work and collaboration on EURO 2020. I would also like to thank our many support partners and agencies, national and local, along with project leader Declan Conroy and all the LOS and FAI staff and all those who have brought their valuable expertise to this project.
"The Dublin LOS partners have worked tirelessly together since the pandemic first struck last year to facilitate the staging of these games. We would not have got to this point without our colleagues and partners in other organisations and agencies such as An Garda Siochana, NTA, daa, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, the IRFU, OPW, Dublin Port, Transdev, IHF, Failte Ireland and St Patrick’s Festival and many more together with all the facility owners and suppliers who came onboard with the project.
"So much work has been undertaken since Dublin was awarded host city status in 2014, so many milestones were reached and so many standards were set by all involved. On behalf of the FAI, I would like to thank the 1,200 volunteers from every corner of Ireland - and many of them from hundreds of our clubs across the country - who were ready to assist at the four games and who were, like us, looking forward to showing off Dublin and Ireland as a world class host venue.
"The reality here is that circumstances beyond our control have led to the games being moved and we have to acknowledge that public health must come first in a global pandemic. This is the end of the EURO 2020 project but the dedication and professionalism of all involved makes everyone at the FAI more determined than ever to bring big games and big tournaments to our country and I am delighted that UEFA have recognised our endeavours by agreeing to work with us on big projects for Dublin and Ireland in the future including the staging of a UEFA Club final at the Aviva Stadium after 2023 which is something to really look forward to as we enter our Centenary year.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney reiterated the FAI’s commitment to hosting future events. He said: "The Board of the FAI remain fully committed to the World Cup 2030 project which will begin with a feasibility study around our bid in conjunction with our counterparts in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. In the immediate future, we will also work together with Government and Sport Ireland now to get Irish football back on the pitch at the earliest possible opportunity and we will continue our journey towards reform and real governance change at next month’s EGM.
"Finally, on behalf of the FAI Board and myself, I would like to thank UEFA for their support throughout this process and wish President Aleksander Čeferin, all the EURO 2020 team and the host cities the very best of luck with this summer’s tournament."