Belfast Telegraph

IFA chiefs declare interest in staging 2020 Super Cup at Windsor after 2019 setback

By Graham Luney

Irish Football Association chiefs have launched another bid to stage the Uefa Super Cup at Windsor Park.

Uefa were asked to consider Windsor Park for the 2019 Super Cup but European football's governing body named Istanbul's Vodafone Arena as their preferred choice. The Irish FA, however, are still determined to show off their newly refurbished south Belfast venue to the world and Windsor is again vying to host the 2020 glamour game between the Champions League and Europa League winners.

Nine European grounds are in the running to host the 2020 showpiece and it would be a huge coup for the Irish FA if the game could kick off at the 18,434-seat capacity stadium.

Nations hosting matches in the 2020 European Championship were not allowed to enter bids for the 2020 Super Cup, which is played in August.

Declarations of interest at this stage are not binding and final proposals must be submitted by March 29.

The winning bid will be chosen by Uefa's executive committee in May 2018.

The nine stadiums to have expressed an interest are: Albania's National Arena in Tirana; Dinamo Stadium in Minsk, Belarus; the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland; France's Grand Stade de Nice; the Sami Ofer in Haifa, Israel; Kazakhstan's Central Stadium in Almaty; the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau, Moldova; Windsor Park and Porto's Estadio do Dragao. Despite Windsor's capacity of under 20,000, Uefa have recently shown a willingness to stage the Super Cup at smaller venues.

Manchester United lost this season's Super Cup 2-1 to Real Madrid in Macedonian capital Skopje last August. During the 2019 bidding process Uefa gave a positive review of the Windsor proposal but highlighted the "slightly low" number of food outlets for fans and said the "proposed staff bistro is rather small". The report said the number of private boxes at Windsor Park is "low" and noted a lack of corporate hospitality inside the stadium among concerns.

The Irish FA will have noted Uefa's findings and forwarded a stronger bid this time round.

Belfast Telegraph

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