Russia wants St. Petersburg to host Euro 2020 opening game
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The Russian Football Union has asked UEFA to pick St. Petersburg as host for the opening match of the 2020 European Championship.
UEFA said on Tuesday its executive committee will choose a host on Dec. 7 for the showpiece opener of a tournament being co-hosted by 13 countries.
UEFA’s decision will come two days after the International Olympic Committee will weigh banning Russia from the Pyeongchang Games because of state-backed doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The Krestovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg hosted the opening game and final of the Confederations Cup this year. It will host seven games at the World Cup, including a semifinal and the third-place game.
The 68,000-capacity venue is competing for the Euro 2020 honor with Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam; Eurostadium, Brussels; Hampden Park, Glasgow; and the Olympic Stadium, Rome.
Still, Brussels is not even sure to stay on the hosting rotation.
UEFA must also decide next week to retain or drop the Belgian capital from the tournament because of stalled stadium construction.
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and Stockholm’s Friends Arena are potential replacements after being overlooked in the original selection.
UEFA said it will also draw lots next week to pick pairs of host cities for each of six groups in the 24-team tournament. UEFA has previously said it would have up to six options in the lottery.
The other Euro 2020 group-stage hosts are: Olympic Stadium, Baku; San Mames Stadium, Bilbao; National Arena, Bucharest; Ferenc Puskas Stadium, Budapest; Parken Stadium, Copenhagen; Aviva Arena, Dublin; Allianz Arena, Munich.
The 13th venue, Wembley Stadium in London, will host the semifinals and final.