Wembley is to be used as a venue for seven Euro 2020 matches in total, after UEFA decided a stadium in Brussels would not be ready in time.
The London stadium had already been chosen as the venue for the final and both semi-finals of the tournament, which is expected to take place between 12 June and 12 July, 2020.
Now, it has also been handed four group games previously allocated to Belgium’s troubled 60,000-capacity Eurostadium project, which has been beset by difficulties.
London will join Glasgow in hosting group D matches in the tournament in two-and-a-half years time, said UEFA.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the decision followed the Eurostadium project’s failure to meet conditions imposed by European football’s executive committee in September 2017.
“We discussed with Brussels for quite a long time and they were not able to provide us with all the documentation. Today we don’t know if they can build a stadium or not,” he said.
It comes as a blow for Belgium, whose team is currently well placed in the FIFA world rankings, winning their group in the 2018 World Cup qualification round.
Euro 2020 will be the first European Championship to feature several host nations.
Qualification will start after the completion of the World Cup finals next summer. and the draw will take place when it is known which teams have made it through.
Each qualified host country will play a minimum of two games at home, UEFA has said.
The venue for the opening match will be the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome.
The other locations will be:
- Group A: Rome, Italy, and Baku, Azerbaijan
- Group B: Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Copenhagen, Denmark
- Group C: Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Bucharest, Romania
- Group E: Bilbao, Spain, and Dublin, Ireland
- Group F: Munich, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary
UEFA has previously said that Baku, Munich, Rome and Saint Petersburg will be used for quarter-finals.
The decision not to use Brussels’ Eurostadium comes after the firm responsible, Ghelamco, was given until 20 November to submit documentation to UEFA about the progress it had made.
It had been hoped that construction would get under way by 2016, but so far the stadium is yet to be granted planning permission.
Its failure to be used as a venue for the Euros could mean it never actually gets built, as the €300m due to be pumped into the project was partly dependent on the stadium being granted hosting rights.
Koen De Brabander, chief executive of the Belgian Football Association, said in a statement: “We did everything we could until the last moment to make UEFA hold off, but we respect the decision.
“Missing out on Euro 2020 does not necessarily mean a death blow for our stadium plans. We absolutely need a new 45,000-seat stadium and we hope that the competent ministers will grant the permit in January so that a stadium for the 21st century can finally be built in our country.”
The Eurostadium was due to replace the King Baudouin Stadium, the renamed Heysel Stadium, where 39 spectators died in 1985 in unrest ahead of the European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus.
(c) Sky News 2017: Wembley to host seven European Championship games in 2020