Will the Aviva Stadium Ever Host the Champions League Final?


Posted 1 month ago in More

It was something of a feather in the cap of the Aviva Stadium to be given hosting rights for the Europa League final in 2024.

But that competition is, with no disrespect intended to those involved, considered the ugly sister to the Champions League, which remains the pinnacle of club football in Europe.

So why hasn’t the Aviva Stadium hosted the Champions League final yet? And could it be the case one day?

Up to Spec

Across the Irish Sea, Wembley Stadium in London will welcome the 2024 Champions League final.

The Champions League odds suggest that the perennial contenders, Real Madrid, will once again get their hands on the trophy – they are the 6/10 favourites ahead of the German surprise package, Borussia Dortmund.

Tens of thousands of fans will be in attendance, as well as the usual band of VIPs and dignitaries, with the hope of a fine evening of football on show.

Although, of course, they won’t benefit from the legendary Dublin hospitality…

There’s been controversy regarding the ticket allocations for the Europa League final at the Aviva Stadium, with the two clubs involved being handed just 12,000 tickets each for their fans – exactly 50% of the venue’s capacity.

But UEFA launched a dig, of sorts, at the logistics of the Aviva Stadium, blaming the lack of ‘designated access routes’ at either end of the arena as the cause of their reluctance to hand out a larger allocation to the two sides.

Will that, ultimately, prevent the Aviva Stadium from ever welcoming the Champions League final to Dublin?

Category Four

At the time of writing, the Aviva Stadium is classed as a Category Four venue by UEFA.

It’s a classification that enables the venue to welcome continental football without the need for any modifications, however, the trend for the Champions League final has – historically – been to hand it to arenas with a capacity of 60,000 or more.

The Aviva’s capacity is currently 51,000 in terms of its seating plan, with upwards of 60,000 allowed in for concerts and theatrical performances during which spectators are allowed to stand on the pitch area.

That Category Four grading is required to host games in the play-off or qualifying stages of the Champions League, any contest in the main draw of the Europa League or UEFA Conference League, or even in the European Championships – the Aviva Stadium has already been selected as one of the host venues when Euro 2028 comes to the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

As far as the Champions League is concerned, Category Four is not considered a good enough rating to host a game in the main draw – which could be a problem further down the line should any Irish side make it to that stage of the competition.

Former UEFA president Michel Platini lobbied for a rule that all Champions League final venues should have a minimum capacity of 70,000 back in 2007, so for now at least it seems highly improbable that Aviva Stadium will ever host the showpiece occasion.

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