Officially UEFA are still insisting that this summer’s European Championship will be a pan-continental affair, but realistically this no longer seems at all likely to happen. The tournament – which is still being referred to as Euro 2020 despite being delayed for a full 12 months due to the global pandemic – will probably instead be hosted in a single country featuring sufficient stadiums.
Reports indicate that England is the frontrunner, with its rapid vaccination process plus the fact London’s Wembley Stadium was set to host both semi-finals and final making it an obvious pick. Indeed, Boris Johnson has reportedly offered to host the event with Gareth Southgate suggetsing that the idea makes sense.
Here are 12 stadiums in line to hold games should UEFA opt to hand Euro 2020 to England. It is mooted that they would be held in England rather than the UK as a whole, which means Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and Glasgow’s Hampden Park are among those that would miss out.
12 English stadiums in contention for Euro 2020
London: Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Stadium, Emirates Stadium
London is the obvious place to start. Wembley is the best football stadium in Europe was already set to host the latter stages of the competition, giving it the feel of a home tournament, but the capital has plenty of suitable venues.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is one of the world’s best arenas, and one of the best stadiums built in the last decade, and would be ideal for a marquee event such as this. Additionally, The London Stadium has a rich history of hosting global events after it was the venue for the Olympics in 2012.
Basing each of the six groups in a city or region would be the best place to approach a restructure, so a fourth London venue is needed for the second group. Arsenal’s Emirates holds more than 60,000 people so it is a natural selection as one of the stadiums to host Euro 2020 games over the likes of Stamford Bridge.
North-west: Anfield, Old Trafford
Things get a little trickier with the other Euro 2020 stadiums. Liverpool and Manchester could easily host a group apiece, but it is fairer to try to spread the games around England as much as possible. The north-west can therefore share hosting duties.
Old Trafford may be in need of a refurbishment but a capacity of over 75,000 makes it hard to go for the slightly smaller yet much newer Etihad Stadium instead. Similarly on Merseyside, there are few reasons to plump for a crumbling Goodison Park – which Everton will soon be leaving for a shiny new home at the docks – over a revitalised Anfield.
Hosting Euro 2020 games will be the ideal way to show off the classy renewal that has taken place at Anfield in recent years, pushing the capacity of the stadium to over 54,000 people. The Etihad is a little larger, but having two stadiums in Manchester and none in Liverpool would not be the fairest solution. Playing at Anfield and Old Trafford makes by far the most sense here.
Yorkshire: Elland Road, Hillsborough
It would be politically difficult to award matches to the east of the Pennines, but not the west.
Elland Road has arguably seen better days but its capacity is pushing 40,000, meaning Leeds United’s home is more than big enough to host one of the less appealing groups
One issue with Elland Road, though, is undoubtedly the absolutely awful state of the pitch, which would certainly need to be sorted out if the stadium was to be ready to host the Euros in June.
Add in Hillsborough – which was used as one of the eight host stadiums for Euro 96 – and Yorkshire will get more than a taste of the tournament.
North-east: St James’ Park, Stadium of Light
The north-east has some of the most passionate football fans in the country. It would be a lesser tournament if the region were to have no stadiums hosting Euro 2020 games.
Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium has a reasonable case to be picked but just up the road is Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which can house around 15,000 more supporters
St James’ Park is bigger still and the Tyne-Wear-Tees region has more than enough people who would want to attend – regulations permitting – to ensure all their games would be sold out.
The Riverside could potentially step in as a replacement were Elland Road’s pitch not ready.
Midlands: Villa Park, King Power Stadium
It is a shame to miss out the south-west but it’s difficult to see stadiums like Ashton Gate hosting Euro 2020 fixtures. London is not that far away, and there are too many suitable venues in the Midlands to ignore the midlands.
Villa Park is a clear frontrunner for a Midlands stadium but there are a few other possible choices to complete the 12 English venues for Euro 2020.
Wolverhampton’s Molineux, Derby’s Pride Park and Nottingham’s City Ground would all be decent picks but, while they all have a broadly similar capacity, Leicester’s King Power Stadium is the more impressive arena.
That also means a fair split between east and west Midlands, which should lessen arguments while still ensuring teams and fans do not have too far to travel.
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