KEIR RADNEDGE in LONDON: Amsterdam will be chasing a prime place in the international floodlights when UEFA comes to sort out venues for its controversial pan-Euro 2020 finals – and it will probably be the only Dutch venue.
Confidence about Amsterdam’s capabilities and doubts about a long-discussed new Rotterdamvenue were analysed in London by Henk Markerink, ceo of the ArenA.
The stadium (officially styled ArenA) was opened in 1996 as the new home of former world and European club champions Ajax. It was a feature in the doomed Holland/Belgium bid to host the 2018 World Cup and boast an all-seater capacity of 53,000 for football matches and nearly 70,000 for concerts.
A new stadium in Rotterdam, to re-house Feyenoord in place of the historic De Kuip, was also on the World Cup cards. Lately, however, the Rotterdam plan has taken a back seat to leave the ArenA as Holland’s most modern major-capacity venue.
UEFA’s executive meets on March 28 to sort bidding requirements and will invite match venue bids for a decision in the autumn.
Markerink addressed the issue at the World Sports Congress in London during a debate about the challenges of obtaining football venue finance.
Asked about Amsterdam’s interest in Euro 2020, he said: “Of course we are a candidate for it. We are the only [Dutch] stadium able to host a game at 2020 and, in principle, we will bid for that.
“They are working towards a new stadium in Rotterdam which may be our competition but they are having the same conversations about finance which we have been discussing here.”
The Euro 2020 finals will feature 24 teams. The group stage and subsequent second round and quarter-and quarter-final ties will be staged in 12 cities with the semi-finals and final in just the one (probably Berlin or Wembley).
Whichever country provides the climactic venues will not host any of the other games.
Ten of the 12 stadia should have a minimum capacity of 50,000 but two host venues can be as low as 30,000, to provide access for Europe’s more modest nations on which Platini depends for his voting support both within UEFA and maybe, one day, at FIFA (Only 21 of the 53 UEFA member nations have stadia of 50,000 or more).
Amsterdam would thus qualify to be a group and second round venue but no further.
The four stadia to host the quarter-finals need a minimum capacity of 60,000 while the 13th venue for the climactic three games needs a minimum all-seater capacity of 70,000.
Each host city must also offer two international airports to ensure travel ease and security of two sets of fans but it is envisaged that finals participants would play at least two matches at home.
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