London’s Wembley Stadium will host the final and semi-finals of the 2020 European Championship, Uefa president Michel Platini have announced .
The United Kingdom’s capital city beat its sole rival Munich for the top bid. The 2016 finals will be the first to be held in 13 different countries across Europe.
The tournament will mark the 60th anniversary of the European Championship, first held in 1960.
In all, 19 countries bid for a chance to host Uefa EURO 2020 games. Minsk (Belarus), Sofia (Bulgaria), Cardiff (Wales), Skopje (Macedonia), Jerusalem (Israel) and Stockholm (Sweden) were the only bids rejected. Only hosts that had stadia with a capacity of 60,000 were considered.
UEFA said it wanted a ‘EURO for Europe’. “This is a historic moment because we’ll be able to bring this competition to all the countries of Europe and especially to countries that would never otherwise have the chance to host such a competition,” Platini said at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.
The quarter-finals will meanwhile be hosted by Munich (Germany), Baku (Azerbaijan), Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Rome (Italy). Rome, Munich, Baku and St Petersburg, top of hosting one quarter-finals matches, will each host three group stage games.
Copenhagen (Denmark), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium) and Glasgow (Scotland), meanwhile, will each host one last-16 game and three group stage fixtures.
London, Munich, Rome, Brussels or Glasgow are experienced hosts of major sporting events, having already hosted Fifa World Cup, EURO or Champions League games. But this is the first time cities like Baku, Budapest or Bucharest will host a major tournament. The stadiums in Budapest and Bakuare still awaiting construction.
In the past, a single country – or at the most two, like Austria and Switzerland in 2008, or Poland and Ukraine in 2012 – hosted the finals. The experiment, which was Platini’s brainchild, will be a one-off event however, with the 2024 tournament to be hosted again by a single country.