On April 23, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to transfer three matches of Group E of the European Football Championship in 2021 from Dublin to St. Petersburg. The epidemiological situation did not allow the Irish capital to confirm matches with spectators. Thus, Russia will host seven Euro 2020 games. Experts are confident that our country, which recently hosted the World Cup, will cope with the organization of meetings and this tournament without any problems.
Rumors that the number of matches of the continental championship in St. Petersburg may be increased have been circulating since last year. There was even information that the entire tournament could take place on the territory of Russia. The prerequisites for this were obvious: our country recently hosted the World Cup, all infrastructure facilities are ready and in excellent condition. However, UEFA did not have to resort to such radical measures.
The key argument to take away the matches from Dublin and give them to Peter was that the Irish government could not guarantee the admission of spectators to the stadium due to the situation with the coronavirus in the country. UEFA is quite rightly confident that it will be very boring without spectators at the stadiums. Russia, on the other hand, guaranteed at least 50 percent occupancy of the arena. In addition, it is possible that by the beginning of the tournament – of course, if the epidemiological situation improves – the number of fans may increase to 75%.
Peter was given three more group stage matches: on June 14 at the Gazprom Arena stadium the game Poland – Slovakia will take place, on June 18 – the meeting of the national teams of Sweden and Slovakia, and on June 23 – the match Sweden – Poland. But the playoff match, which was supposed to take place in Dublin, was eventually given to London.
“It’s very good that those games that were supposed to take place in Dublin were moved to St. Petersburg,” ex-striker of the Russian national team Igor Kolyvanov shared his opinion with Izvestia. – Firstly, in our country there is a high attendance of football matches. Especially when it comes to national teams and a tournament of such a level as the European Championship. Secondly, St. Petersburg is fully ready to accept these games, fans and teams. We have an excellent infrastructure, and this was celebrated by almost everyone during the 2018 World Cup. I think everyone will be satisfied with the quality of the tournament games in Russia.
Recall that initially only four matches were to be played in St. Petersburg. Three of them are in the group stage: Belgium – Russia (June 12), Finland – Russia (June 16) and Finland – Belgium (June 21). And on July 2, a game of one of the quarterfinals of the tournament is scheduled, which will close the program of Euro 2020 matches in the northern capital of Russia.
“For Russia, there are advantages of transferring matches from Dublin to St. Petersburg,” noted Russian coach Alexander Tarkhanov in an interview with Izvestia. – Games of Poland, Sweden and Slovakia will attract additional spectators. We have a great stadium, and it will definitely be full. As for the decision to transfer the Euro matches to our country, this suggests that Russia is valued at UEFA. And we have a very recent experience with the 2018 World Cup. In addition, UEFA assesses the epidemiological situation, and we are not as tough with this now as in some other countries. In my opinion, the decision is absolutely logical and correct.
There is no doubt that Peter will have no problem playing additional matches for such a major tournament. The northern capital has vast experience in organizing major football events.
– We with the Russian Football Union are grateful for the trust and recognition from UEFA, – commented on the decision to postpone the games, General Director of the Euro 2020 Organizing Committee in St. Petersburg Alexei Sorokin. – The pandemic is developing unevenly, and, unfortunately, some cities are in a difficult situation. But this is not their fault. We have no doubts that the field of the St. Petersburg stadium will withstand the tight schedule of Euro matches. We will conduct a dialogue with the city on the allocation of additional capacities in the organizational process. We are confident that St. Petersburg will perfectly cope with the arrival of additional teams and fans and will lend a shoulder to our Euro partners.
The stadium in St. Petersburg is becoming one of the most important places in world football. Since 2017, the matches of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup have already taken place there. This summer, St. Petersburg will host seven Euro 2020 games, and the Champions League final is scheduled for May 2022.
The European Championship will be held from June 11 to July 11, 2021. The tournament was supposed to take place last summer, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed for a year. UEFA has decided to keep the name – Euro 2020. This is a jubilee tournament, and in honor of the 60th anniversary of the first European Championship it was decided to hold it on the territory of 12 European cities at once. But after Dublin fell away, 11 cities remained. It was also decided to transfer matches from one Spanish city to another – from Bilbao to Seville. Amsterdam, Baku, Budapest, Bucharest, Glasgow, Copenhagen, London, Rome and Munich also confirmed their readiness to host the tournament games with spectators.