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England Wembley Stadion
Image: Getty Images/M. Hewitt

Brussels stripped of Euro 2020 matches, Wembley gets more

December 7, 2017

Brussels has been stripped of all its Euro 2020 matches following delays in a new stadium project. The games the Belgian capital was to host in the pan-European tournament will now be played at Wembley.

https://p.dw.com/p/2oyJQ

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin announced on Thursday that England's national stadium would now host the three group stage games and one knockout match slated for the proposed new "Eurostadium" in Belgium. This is in addition to the semifinals and final, which were already set for Wembley.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the tournament, Euro 2020 is to be played in 12 cities across Europe, with cities divided into pairs and each pair sharing matches in a particular group.

Ceferin said that the development of the Eurostadium had run into delays involving the applications for construction and environmental permits.

"We discussed with Brussels for quite a long time and they were not able to provide us with all the documentation. Today we don't know if they can build a stadium or not," he told reporters at UEFA headquarters in Nyon.

"They still don't have the documents... They didn't expect a decision until January and they did not know whether that would be a yes or a no. Experts from [our] administration felt it was a high risk for UEFA to wait. If the answer had been no, it would have been a problem for us to find a new stadium."

Koen De Brabander, chief executive of the Belgian football association (KBVB) said he had attempted to get UEFA to hold off but Thursday's decision was not "a death blow for our stadium plans."

In addition to the host-city pairs, UEFA also announced that the opening match of the tournament will be played at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. The only German stadium involved is the Allianz Arena in Munich, which will hold group-stage matches and a quarterfinal. 

mp/pfd (Reuters, AP)

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