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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Delaney: We could be hosting England

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

BRING ON the English - that's the shout today from the FAI after UEFA gave Dublin the all-clear to host the European Championship finals in 2020.

Cities like Stockholm and Cardiff lost out as Dublin joined near-neigbours London and Glasgow in earning the right to co-host Euro 2020, Dublin selected as one of the 13 host cities.

The Dublin Arena, as Lansdowne Road stadium is called by UEFA, will host three group matches and one game in the round of 16 but the feat in landing the tournament will bring "tens of millions" of euro into the city, according to the FAI.

While far-off cities like St Petersburg and Baku are also hosting matches, if the Irish team qualify in 2020 at least two of their group games will be played in Dublin.

And seeing as Wembley - venue for the semi-finals and final - will not be hosting any group matches, the prospect of England playing Ireland in Dublin in the group stage, if both teams qualify, looms large.

"Scotland and ourselves will partner one group and if England qualify they could be playing in Dublin or in Glasgow. England v Ireland in the Aviva in 2020 would be some match," said FAI CEO John Delaney.

"It will be worth tens of millions. Thousands of fans from all over Europe will be coming to Dublin for three group games and a round of 16 match. The motive for the FAI was not money but to achieve something we'd never done before, to host the European Championship finals.

"And if we do qualify, two of our home games will be in Dublin and that's the dream ticket. Of course we have to qualify first but if we do qualify we will stay in the same geographical area, there's no way we could be playing in Baku."

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