Europe’s governing body of football UEFA is set to provide a compensation package worth €1.3 million to the Spanish city of Bilbao. Moreover, Bilbao has also been awarded hosting rights for the 2024 Europa League final and 2025 Women’s Champions League final.
Bilbao’s San Memes stadium was set to host three matches for Euro 2020 for the Spanish National Team but UEFA decided to change plans since fans wouldn’t have been allowed in the stadium during games. The three matches were relocated to Seville by Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Bilbao’s city council also warned to take legal action as they were dropped two months before the tournament. The council was reportedly seeking compensation worth £1.2 million, which was equivalent to the sum invested in hosting these games. UEFA’s offer to Bilbao still needs to be ratified by the committees of the governing body. While talking to MARCA, Mayor of Bilbao Juan Mari Aburto had insisted that they were going to fight for compensation after UEFA announced broke the deal unilaterally with the city council of Bilbao.
“We have worked in two directions, on the one hand for financial compensation and to take into account that Bilbao is an attractive city for holding new events. We can say with great satisfaction that Uefa will compensate Bilbao for €1.3m and that we will host two relevant and impactful finals in 2024 and 2025 in the city”
This announcement also puts Ireland’s chances of hosting the 2024 Europa League final to bed. The Irish Times also reported that Irish FA was hoping to host the Europa League final in 2024 as Dublin also lost to Euro 2020 matches due to similar reasons.
San Memes is the home ground of La Liga side Athletic Bilbao and the last European final to be held in Bilbao was the 1977 UEFA cup final between Athletic Bilbao and Juventus. Last season, the stadium also hosted preliminary matches for the final phase of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.