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UEFA admits Europa League final in Dublin could prove ‘extremely challenging’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Mar 2024

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UEFA is bracing itself for the “extremely challenging” possibility of a Rangers v Liverpool Europa League final in Dublin.

European football’s governing body has reserved the 82,000-capacity Croke Park stadium as a potential fan zone, but is concerned even that might not be enough to accommodate everyone who may come to Dublin without a ticket to soak up the atmosphere for the match on Wednesday, May 22.

Both clubs have big followings in Ireland and remain in contention to reach the finale at the Aviva Stadium, with Rangers level with Benfica heading into the second leg at Ibrox on Thursday and Liverpool 5-1 up against Sparta Prague with the return at Anfield to come.

There are other permutations too which may also prove a headache for UEFA, whose general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said on Tuesday: “One of the biggest challenges for us this year could be the Europa League final.

“Under certain conditions, because of the potential teams that could qualify, this might end up being the most challenging for us.

“We know they will bring a number of supporters without tickets and then there is the issue of potential public viewing venues.

There are a couple of pairings – I won’t speculate on the names but you are clever enough to work it out – that would be extremely challenging to find ways to accommodate everybody that will be present for that game

“We have already reserved Croke Park as a potential public viewing venue, but that could not be enough.

“There are a couple of pairings – I won’t speculate on the names but you are clever enough to work it out – that would be extremely challenging to find ways to accommodate everybody that will be present for that game.

“We are working on this already, together with the local authorities and also Football Supporters Europe.

“If we do get to one of those scenarios, we will also go to the supporters of the clubs involved to find the best solution.

“The biggest problem we have now is whether Croke Park would be big enough – because we think we would need more alternatives for public viewing for the people who will be in Dublin.

“It’s not an easy operation and it is just for a couple of scenarios which would make it extremely complicated – especially with clubs who already have a large fanbase on the island of Ireland.

“But we are working on it and will involve the fanbases as well. We have to see who gets to the semis and then we will start to work with them as well.”

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