Friday, March 28, 2008

2010 Champions League Final in Madrid, 2010 UEFA Cup Final in Hamburg

The 2010 Champions League final will be held at the Bernabéu, home to the team that has won Europe's top club competition on more occasions than anyone else, Real Madrid.

The Spanish stadium has hosted the final three times, most recently in 1980, and was battling for this honor with Wembley and the Olympiastadion in Berlin. It can hold just over 80,000 people and will surely be filled to capacity come May 2010.

Personally, I think this event should always be held at a neutral venue, at least as long as UEFA wants to keep the final a one-off affair instead of a two-legged tie. If Real Madrid were to reach the final in 2010, something not out of the realm of possibility given Real Madrid's perennial status as a world power, it would be a huge advantage and one that isn't fair in the least.

UEFA also announced that the 2010 UEFA Cup final will be held at Hamburg's HSH Nordbank Arena, formerly (and more commonly) known as the AOL Arena.

This stadium was also used in the 2006 World Cup and, with its UEFA 5-star rating, is eligible to host the Champions League final as well. It's new; construction took two years to complete and was finished in 2000, and Hamburg SV routinely plays to crowds of over 50,000.

In other UEFA-related news, the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Super Cup matches will be played at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, as has become the custom. The 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship was awarded to France, and the same year's U17 event to Liechtenstein, while Nyon, Switzerland will stage the 2009 UEFA European Women's U17 Championship.

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