Bilbao stripped of Euro 2020 hosting duties after unable to guarantee fans in stadium … but furious Basque authorities seek legal advice asking for £ 1 million in compensation after spending to get San Mames ready
- Bilbao would host competitions during this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020
- Athletic Club’s San Mames has now been relieved of hosting duties by UEFA
- Decision comes because the committee cannot guarantee the turnout of fans
- The Basque authorities are seeking compensation of £ 1 million for the money they have spent
UEFA dropped Bilbao as the host city for Euro 2020 this summer, according to a statement released by regional authorities on Wednesday.
The Bilbao committee in charge of the four matches to be held at the San Mames stadium has criticized UEFA’s ‘unilateral’ decision, asking for compensation for the money spent on the organizing the event.
The president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) Luis Rubiales has previously indicated that the La Cartuja stadium in Seville would be a possible replacement.
San Mames was supposed to host competitions this summer during Euro 2020, but it has now been gutted
The local Basque authorities could not guarantee the presence of fans at their matches
Bilbao was listed as one of the original 12 host cities, but the chances of fans attending matches there seems slim, after the Basque government insisted on some strict health conditions being met.
The RFEF reacted angrily to those conditions, which it said would be ‘impossible to fulfill’. Among them was 60 percent of the region’s population vaccinated before June 14.
On Monday, UEFA gave Bilbao, Dublin and Munich until Friday to gather information, but Bilbao organizers said on Wednesday that they had “ received official communication from UEFA stating, unilaterally, the decision to close the San Mames stadium. withdraw from hosting Euro. 2020 ‘.
In the statement, Basque organizers expressed anger at the decision. ‘Euro 2020 will not be played in Bilbao. But we are not going to let them play games with Bilbao and the Basque institutions’, it said.
“We have not found any reason, sports, social or economic, and certainly not related to public health and measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in any of the UEFA messages.”
Organizers said they are seeking legal advice.
“ The contract that unites us with UEFA and with the RFEF and UEFA’s official communication is already in the hands of the legal services of the so-called ‘Bilbao Commission’ for study and evaluation, ” the statement added.
A couple walks their dogs outside San Mames Stadium, home of Athletic Bilbao
“And so that the compensation of the amounts invested so far in the organization of the event, which exceeds 1.2 million euros, and the possible damage caused by that decision, can be evaluated.”
Nine of the proposed 12 Euro 2020 host cities have committed to accept an audience of 25 percent of the capacity for the tournament.
Dublin’s participation is questionable after Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday that the city is unlikely to host if UEFA continues to push for that level of capacity.
The governing body of European football will make a final decision on Friday as to where all matches will be held.