San Mamés Will Compete To Host A Europa League Final As Early As 2022
Athletic’s San Mamés is one of the most impressive stadiums in all of Europe. Opened in 2013, it has attracted interest from many looking to build or remodel their own venues. The Cathedral even hosted the 2018 European Rugby Final and will be a host site for EURO 2020. Now the city of Bilbao is looking to do even more with the stadium after approving a motion last week to host a European club final.
Hosting such a big game would require a lot of effort and planning, but would also bring attention to the city as well as improve commerce. Due to its seating capacity, San Mamés is measured as a Category 4 stadium which means that it wouldn’t qualify to host a Champions League final. Stadiums must have at least 60,000 seats to do so, but San Mamés only boasts 53,289. That being the case, the Cathedral will now compete for the Europa League.
As explained by Xabier Garmendia of El Correo, San Mamés will now enter the running to host the 2022 Europa League final. The locations are already set through 2020 with the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan hosting this year’s final and Poland’s Stadion Energa Gdańsk doing so next year. The site for the 2021 final has yet to be determined with Seville and Tbilisi, Georgia the two possible venues.
If Seville win the bid for 2021 it is very unlikely that San Mamés would be an option to host in 2022. UEFA avoids choosing host cities in the same country in consecutive years with the goal of moving the location around Europe as much as possible. The decision on the 2021 host city will be revealed on 29 May. It will still be a few years before San Mamés will be in the running to host a Europa League final, but the steps are being taken now to make that goal a reality.