Brussels eliminated from Euro 2020 host cities

Summary

Because there's no guarantee that the new Eurostadium will be ready in time, the UEFA has rejected Brussels as one of the host cities of Euro 2020

'Too much of a risk'

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has just announced that Brussels is no longer in consideration to host several matches of the Euro 2020. The capital was meant to be one of the 13 cities to host the championship matches, but the delays surrounding the new Eurostadium were considered too much of a risk.

“We talked with Brussels for quite a long time, and they were not able to provide us with all of then documentation,” said UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin. “We received a letter yesterday saying that there will be a final decision on the 31st of Januar. It’s a high risk for UEFA if we wait. If the answer would be no, it would be a problem for us to find a host quickly.”

Wembley Stadium in London will now host the matches Brussels was meant to host.

Ghelamco Group, the Ypres-based developer awarded the contract to build the ever-beleaguered Eurostadium at Heizel in Brussels-City, announced earlier today that it wanted to go ahead with the project, even if the UEFA decided to eliminate Brussels.

The Eurostadium is meant to replace the existing King Baudouin Stadium and make up part of the major Neo development project at Heizel. It was key in Brussels being chosen three years ago as one of the Euro 2020 host countries.

No environmental permit

Ghelamco already won the bid to build the new stadium, and that can still happen after 2020, said Philip Neyt of Ghelamco. However, Brussels-City and Flanders – the ground is owned by Brussels but is located in Flanders – still have to agree on infrastructural details, and an environmental permit has also yet to be approved.

Another problem: Earlier this year, RSC Anderlecht pulled out of an agreement to take up residence in the stadium, taking with it a great deal of financial investment.

Neyt published an opinion piece in De Tijd today requesting that a mediator be appointed to handle the Eurostadium negotiations and to work on associated challenges such as the increase of traffic on the ring road. Because of “a political tug-of-war between Brussels and Flanders,” he wrote, “we’ve gotten nowhere in four years. This despite the potential win-win for both regions.”

Photo: An architectural rendering of the new Eurostadium
©Courtesy Ghelamco

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