KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: All roads will be leading to Wembley in the next few football years.
The stadium will host the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 next year and now it has been awarded another staging of the Champions League final in 2023.
Aleksander Ceferin, president of European federation UEFA, made the announcement after Tuesday’s executive committee meeting in the Slovene capital of Ljubljana.
The match will mark 10 years since Wembley last staged the final in 2013, when Bayern Munich defeated German rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1.
UEFA announced three host cities, with St Petersburg awarded the 2021 final and Munich the 2022 showpiece.
Additionally, Sevilla will stage the Europa League final in 2021 while Belfast will host the European Super Cup the same year.
The old Wembley Stadium hosted European Cup finals in 1963, 1968, 1971, 1978 and 1992, with the modernised venue also staging the 2011 final, which saw Barcelona defeat Manchester United 3-1.
UEFA also announced that VAR will be used from the beginning of the knockout stages in this season’s Europa League competition.
The executive committee, meanwhile, will recommend to its 55 national associations and all European clubs not to play matches in countries where women have restricted access to stadiums.
UEFA said its third club competition, starting in 2021 with a view to giving “more clubs in more countries a chance to participate in European football”, will be called the Europa Conference League.
UEFA exco statement:
The UEFA Executive Committee met today in Ljubljana, Slovenia and took decisions covering a wide range of topics.
Nations League: The UEFA Nations League will see a new league structure comprising 16 teams in Leagues A, B and C and 7 teams in League D, as of the 2020/21 edition. The teams are allocated to leagues based on the overall ranking following the 2018/19 inaugural UEFA Nations League.
In addition, it enhances sporting fairness as all teams in the same group will play their last match on the same day and at the same time.
The successful concept of the Finals remains untouched, with the four group winners of League A playing each other to determine the UEFA Nations League winners.
The committee furthermore confirmed that the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League draw will take place in Amsterdam on 3 March 2020, same day and same place as the UEFA Congress 2020.
Hosts of UEFA Competitions
The UEFA Executive Committee appointed the hosts for several club and national team competitions as follows:
2021 UEFA Champions League Final – Saint Petersburg
2022 UEFA Champions League Final – Munich
2023 UEFA Champions League Final – London (Wembley)
2021 UEFA Europa League Final – Sevilla (Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán)
2021 UEFA Super Cup – Belfast
UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 – The Netherlands
UEFA Under-17 Championships – Cyprus 2021; Israel 2022
UEFA Under-19 Championships – Romania 2021; Slovakia 2022
UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championships – Faroe Islands 2021; Bosnia-Herzegovina 2022
UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championships – Belarus 2021; Czech Republic 2022
VAR and Goal-Line technology: In another decision, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to implement VAR as from the knock-out stage of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League; at the finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League as from the 2019/20 final onwards; as well as at the final tournament of the 2021 UEFA Women’s EURO, where it will work alongside goal-line technology.
UEFA Europa Conference League: The name of the third UEFA club competition was approved as UEFA Europa Conference League and its commercial concept was also ratified. The new competition, which will start in 2021, will see its matches played on Thursdays with kick-off times at 18.45CET and 21.00CET, similarly to the UEFA Europa League. The new early kick-off time will also be used for the UEFA Champions League matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as of 2021 replacing the current 18:55 CET kick-off.
Concussion: The Executive Committee welcomed the fact that FIFA took note of UEFA’s official request to change the protocol in case of concussion – which aims at better protecting players’ health – and that the matter will be discussed at the next IFAB meeting.
Competitive balance: The committee discussed a report which studied the impact of the revenues raised by the top five leagues from the other 50 countries in Europe on competitive balance in the game. The report demonstrates that, in the absence of any solidarity payments going back into the 50 markets, the money taken by the top five leagues is a major contributor to the erosion of competitive balance across Europe.
Sustainability: UEFA decided, as part of its commitment to sustainability, as well as to celebrate the 60 years of the European Championship, to plant 600,000 trees in the 12 UEFA EURO 2020 host cities.
Match-fixing: UEFA also announced that it will launch a feasibility study to create an independent European agency against match-fixing.
Anti-piracy: A new anti-piracy strategy aiming at protecting the rights of broadcasters was presented to the members of the UEFA Executive Committee.
Women access to stadiums: The Executive Committee will recommend its 55 national associations and all European clubs not to play matches in countries where women have restricted access to stadiums.
Next meeting: The next meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee will take place at the House of European Football, in Nyon, Switzerland on 4 December 2019.