Brussels loses right to host Euro 2020 matches, Wembley gains four games


NYON, Switzerland — Brussels has lost the right to stage Euro 2020 matches following delays in the development of its new Eurostadium and the four games it was due to host will go to London's Wembley instead, UEFA said on Thursday.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said those four matches would be in addition to the two semifinals and final already scheduled to be played at England's national stadium.

The 2020 tournament is being played in 12 cities across Europe, instead of there being one or two host nations, as a one-off to celebrate the tournament's 60th anniversary.

UEFA also announced that Rome's Stadio Olimpico would host the opening match. The building of the Brussels Eurostadium had run into delays involving the applications for construction and environmental permits.

"We discussed with Brussels for quite a long time and they were not able to provide us with all the documentation. Today we don't know if they can build a stadium or not," Ceferin told reporters.

"They still don't have the documents... They didn't expect a decision until January and they did not know whether that would be yes or no. Experts from (our) administration felt it was a high risk for UEFA to wait. If the answer had been no, it would have been a problem for us to find a new stadium."

Koen De Brabander, chief executive of the Belgian Football Association, said in a statement that they did everything they could to make UEFA hold off.

"Missing out on Euro 2020 does not necessarily mean a death blow for our stadium plans," he said. "We absolutely need a new 45,000-seat stadium and we hope that the competent ministers will grant the permit in January so that a stadium for the 21st century can finally be built in our country."

UEFA also divided host cities into pairs, with each pair sharing matches in a given group. It said that Group A would be played in Rome and Baku, Group B in St Petersburg and Copenhagen, Group C in Amsterdam and Bucharest, Group D in London and Glasgow, Group E in Bilbao and Dublin and Group F in Munich and Budapest.

UEFA charge Spartak youth player

European soccer's governing body UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Leonid Mironov on Thursday, a day after Liverpool's Rhian Brewster alleged he was racially abused by the Spartak Moscow defender during a UEFA Youth League game.

Liverpool reported the incident to UEFA, which has charged the Spartak player with racist behavior in violation of Article 14 of its disciplinary regulations. "The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body with the date of the hearing yet to be confirmed," UEFA said. — Reuters