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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dublin edges closer to success in Euro 2020 bid

DUBLIN'S bid to become one of the host cities for Euro 2020 has been given a boost after a UEFA investigation team gave the Irish bid an initial thumbs up.

In a major change of the way final tournaments are run, the 2020 finals competition will be hosted in 13 cities across the continent. A total of 19 cities lodged bids to host games for the tournament and the UEFA executive committee will make their decision known tomorrow week.

The fact that Dublin is involved in a bid along with Cardiff, London and Glasgow would aid Irish hopes of being successful as that would allow UEFA to regionalise games for the finals between cities in these islands and it's possible that Cardiff and Dublin could co-host one of the group stages as well as potentially some of the knock-out games.

Bids were formally lodged with UEFA by the national associations of 19 states: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, England, Macedonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Wales.

Regional instability would certainly harm Jerusalem's hopes of winning the right to host matches, and for the same reason St Petersburg and Moscow could also run into problems.

The capacity of 51,711 in the Aviva Stadium would be a major asset to the FAI's bid, in contract to potential host cities like Skopje and Minsk where current capacity of stadia is below 30,000.

The UEFA inspection team's report on Dublin gave the bid positive scores in terms of facilities such as hotels, airports, stadium accessibility and the past experience of hosting the Europa League final in 2011 is also noted. But the FAI would need to work on the media facilities at the Dublin 4 ground.

The Scottish FA, who made an ill-fated joint bid with the FAI to host Euro 2008, had hoped to bring the 2020 finals to Glasgow but politics could intervene as the UEFA report into the Scottish bid has noted the uncertainty due to the referendum on independence and UEFA noted that the Scottish bid would have to be reassessed if Scotland left the UK.

London, Munich, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Amsterdam are seen as dead-certs to land games and Dublin is included with a group containing Rome, Brussels, Bucharest, Baku and Cardiff who are seen as hopeful.

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