The Spanish and Irish cities have been stripped of their fixtures because they cannot guarantee fans will be allowed in for games
Bilbao and Dublin have been stripped of their right to host matches at Euro 2020 because of concerns over whether fans would be allowed into stadia, UEFA has confirmed.
The games in the Spanish and Irish cities have been moved as coronavirus restrictions in their areas may prevent spectators being able to attend matches at the rearranged tournament in the summer.
As a result, the games have been moved to Seville from Bilbao, while St Petersburg and London will share the fixtures which were supposed to be played in Dublin.
What has been decided?
UEFA confirmed the news on Friday following a meeting of its executive committee, at which it was agreed that Munich – which had also been at risk of losing games – would be allowed to remain as a host city as German authorities had guaranteed that at least 14,500 would be allowed to attend.
A statement read: “The four matches initially scheduled to take place in Bilbao, will be moved to the Estadio La Cartuja in Seville. The hosting of these matches is supported by the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, which has confirmed its intention of allowing spectators at 30% of the stadium capacity for the three Group E matches and a round of 16 match.
“Following the decision of the local authorities, it was clear that fans were very unlikely to be able to attend the matches that were scheduled to be played there [Bilbao].
“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 to allow fans to attend the games after a year of not being able to watch live football in stadiums. This decision will create a festive atmosphere at all matches taking place in UEFA’s flagship national team competition.
“The three Group E matches initially scheduled for Dublin, will be reallocated to the St Petersburg Stadium, which is already hosting three Group B matches and a quarter-final.
“The round of 16 match initially scheduled in Dublin, will be moved to Wembley in London.”
Which games have been moved?
Group E, which features Spain, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia, is the only pool to be directly affected by the changes.
Spain will now play all three of their group games in Seville rather than Bilbao, while Poland vs Slovakia, Sweden vs Slovakia and Sweden vs Poland will all take place in Russia.
The last 16 match scheduled for Dublin – which will feature the winner of Group D against the runner-up in Group F – will be played at Wembley. This could mean England, who play all their Group D matches in London, could also play their first-knockout match at their national stadium should they top their pool.
What has been said?
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “We have been working diligently with the host associations and local authorities to ensure a safe and festive environment at the games, and I am really pleased that we are able to welcome spectators at all matches for a celebration of national team football across the continent.
“UEFA wishes to express its appreciation and gratitude to the cities of Bilbao and Dublin – both of which are considered as 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.
“UEFA would also like to thank the Football Association of Ireland and its dedicated staff for their excellent collaboration and hard work, and is looking forward to continuing to work with the remaining eleven host associations in delivering Euro 2020 matches.”
What about the fans?
All tickets for the games in Bilbao and Dublin have been cancelled, with fans getting a full refund.
Tickets for the reorganised games will be put on sale on the UEFA website, with the European football governing body saying supporters who have been affected will be contacted first and get priority when buying tickets for the newly re-hosted games.