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The Guardian / Sports

Wembley handed four more Euro 2020 matches as Wales misses out

London will host seven games during Euro 2020 after Uefa handed the four fixtures scheduled for Brussels to Wembley on Thursday
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Wembley will host seven games at Euro 2020 after Uefa on Thursday handed the stadium the four matches scheduled for Brussels.

Uefa decided to reallocate the three group fixtures and one last-16 game given to the Belgian capital because of delays in the building of a 60,000-capacity stadium on the site of Heysel. Belgian authorities failed to provide guarantees the stadium would be ready.

Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and Stockholm’s Friends Arena – the venues for last season’s finals of the Champions League and Europa League respectively – had hoped to pick up the Brussels games but Uefa opted for Wembley, which had already been chosen for the semi-finals and final.

Hampden Park’s hopes of staging the opening game were also dashed, with the match going to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

Staged across 12 countries, Euro 2020’s unusual format was the former Uefa president Michel Platini’s brainchild – a one-off gesture to celebrate the tournament’s 60th birthday.

As well as deciding where the first game, on 12 June, will be and what to do about the difficulties in Brussels, the executive committee also announced where each of the six groups’ games will be played.

Baku and Rome will host group A, group B games will take place in Copenhagen and St Petersburg, Amsterdam and Bucharest get group C, Glasgow and London will share group D, group E will be staged in Bilbao and Dublin, while group F’s fixtures will be in Budapest and Munich.

In a statement, the Football Association of Wales said it was “extremely disappointed” that its bid for four Euro 2020 games had been unsuccessful.

“Over the past four years, Wales has successfully staged three Uefa events – firstly, the Super Cup final in 2014, followed by the men’s and women’s Champions League finals in June this year,” it said.

“Uefa ranked the Champions League final as one of their best events and praised the way in which the Cardiff 2017 local organising committee delivered the showpiece. The concept of taking Euro 2020 to different countries was devised to allow smaller countries, like Wales, to have a unique opportunity of being involved in staging a major tournament. Wales has never staged a Euro or World Cup final and this was its one and only chance of doing so.

“The FAW complied with all of the bid requirements and has written to Uefa to request feedback on the decision so that it can understand the reasons behind the vote for future reference.”

The statement concluded by wishing Uefa and Wembley all the best and saying it would now concentrate all its efforts on ensuring Wales qualify.

While the decision has come as a blow to the Welsh, and Belgians, it is a coup for the English FA, London and Wembley Stadium, which hosted several games at Euro 96. If England qualify they will play at least two group games at Wembley, just as Ireland and Scotland will get two home matches if they reach the tournament.

The FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, said: “We are delighted to help Uefa by hosting the additional four matches at Wembley Stadium. It’s an honour to be one of the 12 nations that will play a part in this prestigious Euro for Europe tournament and I would like to thank the Uefa executive committee for giving us the opportunity to stage these games.”

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