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Euro 2020 switch of match venues decision goes against St James Park and Newcastle United

5 months ago
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Friday was decision day for Euro 2020 organisers.

The tournament only seven weeks away and the final chance for all 12 venues to give their commitment that they could satisfy the requirement, to be able to have at least 25% of capacity open for fans to attend the group matches.

Of the 12 grounds in 12 different countries, three were reported to be struggling to meet this fans in stadium requirement, those being Munich, Dublin and Bilbao.

Ahead of Friday’s announcement, it was revealed that St James Park has been put forward as a replacement venue for any Euro 2020 matches that needed to be moved.

Henry Winter is Chief Football Writer for The Times and usually a very reliable source. He reported that the English FA had contacted the Euro 2020 tournament organisers and told them that both Wembley and St James Park were ready and willing to host any matches that need to be moved.

When the Euro 2020 organisers announced the final arrangements as to where matches would be played, they made public that whilst Munich had given the necessary assurances and would still host their scheduled matches, neither Dublin nor Bilbao had been able to and had lost their scheduled games.

Bilbao had been due to host three Group E matches – Spain vs Sweden (14 June), Spain vs Poland (19 June) and Slovakia vs Spain (23 June). Plus a Round of 16: 1B vs 3A/D/E/F (27 June).

These games were always very likely to remain in Spain and sure enough, Sevilla now have all four of those games.

As for Dublin, they had three Group E matches – Poland vs Slovakia (14 June), Sweden vs Slovakia (18 June) and Sweden vs Poland (23 June). These have been given to St Petersburg on top of the other matches they were already scheduled to host.

Dublin also had a Round of 16 1D vs 2F (29 June) game, this has been moved to Wembley alongside their other matches, which include both semis and the final.

Confirmation arrived on Friday that both Dublin and Bilbao had been removed from the list of European Championship Final venues this summer, due to COVID-related attendance limit issues.

So Euro 2020 will kick off without St James Park involvement at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in 48 days time, Turkey v Italy the first match of the tournament on Friday 11 June 2021.

The final set to be played at Wembley 30 days later on Sunday 11 July, with both semi-finals also there (Wembley).

The 10 stadiums / countries now confirmed as host venues for Euro 2020:

Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Johan Cruyff Arena

Baku (Azerbaijan) – Olympic Stadium

Bucharest (Romania) – Arena Nationala

Budapest (Hungary) – Puskas Arena

Copenhagen (Denmark) – Parken Stadium

Glasgow (Scotland) – Hampden Park

London (England) – Wembley Stadium

Munich (Germany) – Allianz Arena

Rome (Italy) – Stadio Olimpico

Saint Petersburg (Russia) – Krestovsky Stadium

With the possibility of Martin Dubravka playing for Slovakia in Euro 2020 at St James Park now gone, we are left to hope simply that the likes of Dubravka, Fraser, Krafth, Schar and maybe the odd other surprise, will be fit and selected by their countries and add some extra interest to Euro 2020 for Newcastle fans.

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