Welsh anger over Euro snub
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ANGRY Wales admit they have lost their “one and only chance” of hosting a major finals after Uefa’s shock decision to award extra Euro 2020 matches to neighbours England.
The FA of Wales have expressed their ‘extreme disappointment’ at missing out and have called for top-level feedback from Uefa about how the controversial decision was reached.
The FAW were confident they had presented a compelling case for Cardiff ’s Principality Stadium as an alternative to Brussels, whose own new Eurostadium project meant they had to be withdrawn as one of the 13 host cities for the tournament.
Wales thought it was a straight fight between Cardiff and Stockholm, with an outside chance that Wembley would be chosen.
In the end. Uefa went with Wembley, meaning the home of English football gets to stage SEVEN matches – four group games, a last-16 tie, plus the semi-finals and finals they already had been allocated.
Wales feel the decision goes against the spirit of the tournament, which is meant to be spread throughout a continent in lots of host cities as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the European Championships.
Part of the celebration, they felt, was the opportunity for smaller footballing nations to be handed unique opportunities to stage the finals.
In a strongly-worded statement, the FAW said: “Wales has never staged a Euro or World Cup Finals and this was its one and only chance of doing so. The FAW complied with the bid requirements and has written to Uefa to request feedback on the decision so that it can understand the reasons behind the vote for future reference.”
The Welsh Government and Cardiff Council were amongst the partners strongly supporting the Principality Stadium bid.
“The FAW and its stakeholders are extremely disappointed with the news that its bid to secure four Euro 2020 matches has been unsuccessful,” read the statement.
“Over the past four years, Wales has successfully staged three Uefa events – firstly, the Uefa Super Cup Final in 2014, followed by the Uefa Men’s and Women’s Champions League Finals in June this year.
“Uefa ranked the Champions League Final as one of their best events and talked up the way in which the Cardiff 2017 Local Organising Committee delivered the showpiece.
“The concept of taking Euro 2020 to 13 different countries was devised to enable smaller countries, like Wales, to have a unique opportunity of being involved in staging a major tournament.
“The FAW wishes the FA and Wembley Stadium the very best for Euro 2020, which it sure to be a fantastic tournament.
“The FAW will fully concentrate its efforts on ensuring that the Wales national team has the very best opportunity to qualify for and participate at Euro 2020.”
While the decision has come as a hammer blow to Wales, Sweden and Belgium, it is a major coup for the Football Association, London and Wembley, which hosted several games in the 1996 tournament.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “We are delighted to help Uefa by hosting the extra four matches at Wembley Stadium.
“It’s an honour to be one of the 12 nations that will play a part in this prestigious ‘EURO for Europe’ tournament and I would like to thank the Uefa executive committee for giving us the opportunity to stage these games.”