Save me a seat, football may be coming home
Deal with Germany may bring Wembley Euro 2020 final closer
A friendly against Norway has ensured England a suitably sheepish return to international football after the World Cup in front of a paltry crowd by Wembley standards.
There could be happier days ahead however, at least for those responsible for paying Wembley’s debts, with England close to securing a clear run at staging the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020.
In an experimental format Euro 2020 will see matches shared by 13 countries across Europe, with Wembley bidding to stage the last three games. Their only competitor for the climactic matches is a bid from Munich. A decision is due on September 19, but Germany are close to striking a deal that would leave the FA with a clear run.
The Germans want to host Euro 2024 and want England, a potential competitor, to agree to step aside in favour of staging the Euro 2020 games, and support for any bid for Euro 2028. The FA are happy with the plan, and DFB federation president Helmut Sandrock has told a magazine that a deal is close.
“We’ve spoken with [England] about it, that they could hold off [applying for] Euro 2024 and support our application,” Sandrock told Sport Bild magazine. “In turn, we’d forego the final Euro 2020 games and support England’s bid for Euro 2028.
“Withdrawing of our application for the three final games of Euro 2020 would only come into question for if we could be certain of getting the 2024 European Championship.”
England are not the only power-broker with a say, but a deal seems increasingly likely, music to the ears of the Wembley management.
Scotland, Wales and Ireland are also bidding for packages of three group matches in the 24-team tournament, plus a single knock-out match from the last 16 or quarter-finals.
At least two of the three are likely to be successful.