Dublin has been removed as one of the host cities for the European Championship, with UEFA confirming it has been replaced with Russian city St Petersburg.
Zbigniew Boniek, head of the Polish FA and a member of the UEFA executive committee, first confirmed the news following a meeting on Euro 2020 host cities this morning.
Dublin, Bilbao and Munich were the three host cities granted four days to clarify whether they could meet the minimum requirement of 25 per cent fan capacity.
There are 12 host cities for the tournament.
Of the three mentioned, Munich is understood to be the only one that will retain its fixtures.
Bilbao will be replaced by another Spanish city, Seville, while Dublin will be replaced by St Petersburg.
The Football Association of Ireland has since confirmed the news in a statement.
The FAI said the move was due to the fact it could not guarantee 25 per cent capacity at the Aviva Stadium for June.
It said UEFA has welcome its plan to put Dublin forward as a candidate to host a European club final after 2023.
UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said: “UEFA acknowledge the disappointment within Irish football that we have had to take this decision but we have made a commitment for fans to be part of the UEFA EURO 2020 Tournament. We just cannot have a game without any fans and an empty stadium at EURO 2020. We fully understand that it was very difficult for the Dublin LOS to find a way to make this possible within the necessary timeframe.
“I wish to acknowledge FAI President Gerry McAnaney for his positive and constructive engagement throughout the decision making process this week. We also value how hard CEO Jonathan Hill and the LOS team have worked to try and resolve this issue and we thank everyone within the Dublin LOS and the Irish people for their commitment and support for this project over the last seven years. We look forward to Dublin hosting a UEFA club final in the near future.”
Reacting to the UEFA announcement, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said: “Preparations for the hosting of the EURO 2020 games in Dublin were at an advanced stage when the pandemic hit and UEFA took the decision on March 17th 2020 to postpone the tournament. Work on the tournament in Dublin continued into 2021 and we were hopeful that we were all set to host a fantastic tournament in Dublin in June.
“However, despite our commitment to hosting the games the public health situation has meant that we were not able to give UEFA the assurances they required earlier this month in relation to guaranteeing minimum spectator attendance levels at EURO 2020 in Dublin. I would like to take this opportunity to wish UEFA and all of the other host cities well with EURO 2020 and look forward to an exciting tournament in the summer.”
The Aviva Stadium had been due to host group games involving Poland, Slovakia and Sweden along with a last-16 tie but these games have now been moved.
The three group games will now be played in Russia while the last-16 tie will be moved to Wembley, which is also set to host the semi-finals and final of the tournament.
Fans who had purchased tickets for the Dublin games will have until Monday to claim a refund from UEFA.
Speaking yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said June was “too soon” to have fans in attendance at the Aviva Stadium.
Mr Varadkar told Today FM on Wednesday: “The last I heard was that the organisers (UEFA) were looking at us to commit to have at least 25 per cent of the stadium full.
“We’re cautious about that. We just think June is too soon. I think if they continue to insist on that, it will be hard for that to go ahead which is unfortunate.”