Murrayfield bosses reveal Euro 2020 final venue goal

Andy Webster scores for Hearts at Murrayfield. Picture: Toby Williams
Andy Webster scores for Hearts at Murrayfield. Picture: Toby Williams
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MURRAYFIELD has thrown its hat into the ring to host the final of Euro 2020 after Uefa announced it will stage a pan-European tournament in up to 13 cities.

Bosses at the 67,000 all-seater stadium, the largest in Scotland, believe the Capital is best suited to hosting the competition’s showcase game in world-class surroundings.

The bid comes after Uefa this week revealed its change from the usual format, which involved either one or two countries hosting the tournament every four years.

A spokesman for Murrayfield owners the SRU said: “We are aware of Uefa’s plans for 2020 and we will look at the further details once they are revealed. Murrayfield is a world-class sporting venue and has a rich history of staging a range of world-class sporting events.

“We look forward to exploring any opportunities with our counterparts at the Scottish Football Association.”

The pan-continental Euro 2020 will be a one-off rather than a model of future events and is aimed at celebrating the 60th anniversary of the tournament and providing opportunities to countries who would normally be unable to be hosts.

Scottish football chiefs have already stated their intention to claim hosting rights for the final ahead of the English, Welsh and Irish FAs.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: “We would be interested in the final but we first have to find out Uefa’s minimum criteria for capacity. If they are looking for stadiums with greater capacity, then of course we would be interested in hosting group matches.”

Edinburgh’s festival champion, Councillor Steve Cardownie, believes the Murrayfield bid should be given serious consideration.

“This is the capital city and we have a fantastic venue here in Edinburgh, the largest in the country,” he said. “If Scotland is offered the chance to host some games then we should be a serious contender.

“I’m sure football fans from across Europe would love a trip to Edinburgh in the summer time. We need to keep banging the drum that we can accommodate events such as this.

“Given the previous history of the SFA, I expect they will favour Hampden over the country’s largest stadium – that is why we must remind them that we are here and we are ready.”

The exact format has yet to be decided but plans involve 12 cities hosting the group and knockout games, with a 13th for the semi-finals and final.

The governing body refused to be drawn on possible host venues while the bidding process is still being drawn up.

Staging football at the ground isn’t unheard of as Hearts took on Barcelona in a friendly in front of 57,000 fans in 2007 and played several European matches at the rugby ground in 2004 and 2006.

However, the SFA refused to allow this year’s all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final at the ground, forcing thousands of city football fans to travel to Hampden for the game in May.