Bilbao told by UEFA it's been dropped as Euro 2020 host

April 21

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish city of Bilbao has been dropped by UEFA as a host for the upcoming European Championship, local authorities said Wednesday.

Bilbao was supposed to be one of 12 cities across the continent to host games for the tournament, but had been unable to give UEFA guarantees that fans would be allowed into the stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The city's local organizers threatened to sue the European soccer body over its “unilateral” decision to drop Bilbao as a host. It had been scheduled to host Spain’s matches in Group E against Poland, Sweden and Slovakia. It would also host a round-of-16 match.

Organizers published a seven-point letter saying they wouldn’t allow anyone to “damage the image” of Bilbao, which had been preparing for the tournament for more than six years with “professionalism and responsibility.”

They said no one could question the capacity of the city and Basque Country to attract and organize the most varied types of events.

The Spanish soccer federation had said recently that the current pandemic situation in Bilbao made it impossible for fans to be allowed into matches based on the regulations established by health authorities in the northern Basque Country region, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic in Spain.

Other host cities for the June 11-July 11 tournament have given assurances to UEFA that spectators will be allowed into stadiums.

UEFA recently gave Rome, Munich, Bilbao and Dublin an extension to the deadline for providing guarantees on fans being allowed into games. The Italian government last week gave the all-clear for a limited number of fans at the city's venue, but Munich, Dublin and Bilbao still haven't offered guarantees.

UEFA' executive committee is expected to make its final decision on Friday.

The Spanish federation recently offered Seville as an alternative to Bilbao, with games to be played at the La Cartuja Stadium in the southern Andalusia region. The stadium was host to the Copa del Rey finals this month.

UEFA has used another stadium in Seville, Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, as a replacement venue after the home team was eliminated from the Champions League. It hosted both legs of the Chelsea-Porto quarterfinal because of travel restrictions between England and Portugal.

The games in Bilbao would have taken place at Athletic Bilbao's San Mamés Stadium.


More AP soccer: and


Tales Azzoni on Twitter:

share story

Pedroia excited for Fenway return, ceremony During his impressive career with the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia had a front-row seat when players like Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Tim Wakefie...
Always looking for depth, NU defensive backs coach Fisher tries to 'outrecruit your room' Travis Fisher couldn't yet talk about Nebraska's newest addition to its defensive backfield at last week's Big Red Blitz stop in Grand Islan...
Kareem Hunt says last year "wasn't good enough," calls Browns "real contenders" WILLOUGHBY — Kareem Hunt has a list of reasons he’s already counting down the days to the opener Sept. 12 at Kansas City. For starters, he w...
4-star WR Darrius Clemons breaks down visit to Oregon, what stood out One of the top in-state prospects regardless of recruiting class for the state of Oregon was recently on campus at Oregon this week. Four-st...
Minor-league pitcher Miguel Yajure moves to 60-day injured list, out until August Currently in the midst of 20 games without a day off, the Pittsburgh Pirates will need to bolster their starting rotation, but Miguel Yajure...