‘Bitter disappointment’ as Wales loses 2020 games
FOOTBALL fans and politicians spoke of their “bitter disappointment” last night after Wales missed out on hosting Euro 2020 matches in Cardiff.
Uefa chiefs confirmed yesterday that Wembley had been chosen over Cardiff ’s Principality Stadium and Stockholm’s Friends Arena.
The decision was announced by Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, as Wembley – which is already staging the competition’s final and semifinals – was selected to host three group games and a last-16 encounter that had been planned for Brussels. It means the London venue will stage a total of seven games in the tournament.
Brussels will not be a host city due to concerns about its Eurostadium building, construction of which has yet to get under way.
The Football Association of Wales yesterday said it was “extremely disappointed” with the news, and has requested feedback from Uefa.
The announcement was met with disappointment at the decision not to bring tournament matches to Cardiff despite its track record of hosting major sports events in recent years.
Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas said on social media: “I can’t pretend I’m not bitterly disappointed with Uefa’s Euro 2020 decision.
“Cardiff has one of the best stadiums in the world, a matchday experience second to none, and welcoming residents, passionate about their sport. The tournament is poorer without us.”
In a separate statement, Councillor Thomas added: “Cardiff has a proven track record of hosting prestigious sporting events, most recently with the Uefa Champions League Final in June, which was the biggest sporting event in the world in 2017.
“Although we are disappointed with the decision, we will work with the FAW to request feedback on our bid. We wish the FA and Wembley Stadium every success in hosting the games that could have come to Cardiff.”
Peter Bradbury, Cardiff council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “As a football fan myself. it’s very disappointing to hear that we have missed out.
“It’s a real shame fans won’t get to experience the truly unique atmosphere that only Cardiff can generate on occasions like this.”
First Minister Carwyn Jones: “While it is deeply disappointing that we have missed out on being a Euro 2020 host, I am confident that the Welsh team will make a big impact on the tournament, as we did last summer in France.
“Wales has played host to many very successful major sporting events in recent years and stands ready to do so again.”
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “This is understandably a major disappointment for Cardiff but I hope that the city can take heart in the fact that we put together a fantastic bid.
“I worked hard to ensure that the UK Government was able to provide the guarantees that Uefa needed to make this happen and my team worked very closely with FA Wales, so I am particularly sad that we were unsuccessful.
“However our capital city has already demonstrated that it can successfully host major global sporting events and I am confident that we will be able to bid for many more in the future.”
James Watkins, 37, founder of supporters’ band The Barry Horns, said: “Uefa have gone against the concept of the tournament. [Former Uefa president Michel] Platini’s idea was to share out the matches between the countries of Europe. Instead, the allocation of games epitomises nothing but greed.”
> Sam Vokes celebrates his goal against Belgium during the Euro 2016 championships