The authorities of the city of Bilbao in northern Spain have waived the right to host matches of the European Football Championship. This was reported on the website of the city administration on Wednesday, April 21.
The statement notes that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on Wednesday sent a notice to the organizing committee of Bilbao that it unilaterally deprives the city of the right to host championship matches.
Until recently, Bilbao did not provide guarantees that it would be able to organize the tournament games in the presence of spectators. At the same time, the head of UEFA, Aleksandr Čeferin, said earlier that he would not allow the European Championship matches to be held with empty stands.
The organizing committee stressed that from the moment of obtaining the right to host the tournament matches, the city fulfilled all the criteria of the parent organization. However, in a pandemic, the city authorities assess the health of their citizens above the requirements of UEFA. It is emphasized that Bilbao has spent more than € 1.2 million on organizing the events of the European Championship and is preparing to sue for damages.
“Bilbao will not accept Euro 2020 and rejects possible reproaches in this regard. This is a unilateral decision by UEFA and the position of the Spanish Football Federation, which has never liked Bilbao as a venue for Euro 2020. We hold them accountable for what happened, ”the statement reads.
It is noted that Čeferin has not communicated with anyone from the organizing committee of Bilbao, as well as with the mayor of the city, for several weeks.
The final decision on the host cities of the European Championship will be made by UEFA on Friday, 23 April. At the moment, nine cities have confirmed the reception of tournament matches with spectators, including St. Petersburg, Baku, Rome, Bucharest, Budapest, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Glasgow. At the same time, volunteers from other countries will not participate in the competition in the Russian megalopolis.
In the spring of 2020, UEFA announced the postponement of the European Championship to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizers did not change the official name of the tournament – Euro 2020. The European Championship will be held from June 11 to July 11, 2021.