Belfast Telegraph

Dublin handed four Euro 2020 games

The old Lansdowne Road in Dublin has been chosen to host four matches in Euro 2020.

The Irish capital was selected along with 12 other cities for the prestigious tournament which will also be held in England and Scotland, with the final taking place at Wembley.

The successful bid for the 51,700-capacity Aviva stadium to host key matches in the 60th anniversary of the Uefa competition was made by the Football Association of Ireland and Dublin City Council.

They will be the most high-profile games played at the old Lansdowne site after the Europa League final three years ago.

John Delaney, FAI chief executive, said the opportunity to host part of the European finals will be a major boost for Irish football and the country as a whole.

" Our business, transport and tourism infrastructure along with a world-class stadium played a major part in delivering the bid for Ireland along with full political support, and everyone involved has worked superbly as a team to bring this event to Dublin," he said.

"Together, we now look forward to playing our part in hosting what promises to be a ground-breaking, European-wide celebration of football."

The Aviva will host three group games and one match in the last 16 and t he 2020 competition will coincide with the FAI's centenary.

The FAI and city council bid was supported by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the stadium management, Dublin Airport Authority, the Irish Hotels Federation, CIE Group, Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and other state bodies such as the Garda.

Michael Ring, junior sport minister, who travelled to Geneva to assist the bid, said: " It is a marvellous opportunity for our nation to be part of one of the world's top sporting events and a fantastic opportunity for Irish football fans to enjoy such a prestigious event on their own home soil.

"To have an opportunity to host part of a tournament that is normally the reserve of Europe's bigger nations represents a unique opportunity for Ireland. We are a country that is passionate about football and look forward to welcoming the cream of European football to our shores in 2020.

"Recent events, such as the Giro d 'Italia, have shown that Ireland can successfully host large international sports events and ensure that participants and spectators alike have a great experience when they visit Ireland."

Dublin's Lord Mayor Christy Burke added: " We applaud Uefa's decision to bring Euro 2020 to Dublin.

"I look forward to welcoming visitors to Dublin from all over the world, to what will undoubtedly be a wonderful sporting occasion."

Glasgow's Hampden Park will host the same number of games as the Aviva.

The quarter-finals and three group matches will be held in Munich, Baku, Rome and St Petersburg. The other host cities, which will hold three group games and a last-16 game, are Copenhagen, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Budapest and Brussels.

Tourism chiefs in Failte Ireland said Euro 2020 fits the bill as it strives to bring more international visitors to the country.

"Ireland has a worldwide reputation for our hospitality and the friendliness of our people, not to mention the passion and good-natured participation of our sports fans," c hief executive Shaun Quinn said.

"I am confident we can provide a fantastic experience and atmosphere for all the overseas fans attending the matches - before, during and after each game."

The Aviva opened in May 2010 after being built at a cost of more than 400 million euro.

It has played host to the 2012 Heineken Cup Final and the 2012 Emerald Isle Classic, an American college football match, as well as the 2011 Nations Cup featuring matches between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

DublinTown, the collective of 2,500 businesses in the city centre, said the success was a vote of confidence in the Irish capital.

Richard Guiney, chief executive of the association, said: "This event will deliver a significant economic boost to the city in advance of and during the competition.

"It was pleasing to hear Uefa's positive comments about Dublin's transport system and the quality of our hospitality offering, where great efforts have been made in the past couple of years."

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