UEFA picks Budapest to host 2026 Champions League final, delays 2027 decision on San Siro

AP , Wednesday 22 May 2024

UEFA picked Budapest on Wednesday to host the men’s Champions League final in 2026 and delayed giving the 2027 game to Milan amid uncertainty over the future of San Siro.

Leverkusen s
Bayer Leverkusen s players take part in a training session at the Dublin Arena stadium, in Dublin. Photo : AFP

The Puskás Arena and San Siro were the only two candidates for the two finals scheduled to be awarded. The next final on June 1 is at Wembley Stadium in London and Bayern Munich’s home will host next year.

The iconic San Siro, formally known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and owned by the city of Milan, has been under long-term threat of demolition. Its shared tenants AC Milan and Inter Milan have looked for new homes they can own.

UEFA put off a decision until a September meeting of its executive committee subject to the Italian soccer federation “submitting information on refurbishment plans” for San Siro.

Earlier Wednesday, uncertainly increased in Milan as ownership of Inter switched from Chinese corporation Suning to United States investors Oaktree because of failure to repay debts.

The 75,000-seat San Siro still could host the European Cup or Champions League final for the fifth time, one year after staging the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The 70,000-seat Puskás Arena opened five years ago and has been a go-to venue for UEFA, hosting a Europa League final last year and replacement games during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a big fan of soccer and billionaire banker Sándor Csányi is a FIFA vice president representing UEFA.

UEFA’s executive committee also sent the Women’s Champions League final in 2026 to Oslo, Norway.

Istanbul will host the 2026 Europa League final in the downtown stadium of Besiktas and the 2027 game is going to Eintracht Frankfurt’s home. The 2025 Europa final is in Athletic Bilbao’s stadium, which also hosts the Women’s Champions League final next week.

The third-tier Conference League final in 2026 will also go to Germany, in Leipzig, and in 2027 in Istanbul, also at the Besiktas stadium.

The Besiktas stadium gets to host European finals in back-to-back years while the Romanian national stadium in Bucharest, which last hosted a Europa League final in 2012, lost in votes to bring that title match back.

The Israeli soccer federation had originally entered the Conference League bidding contest last year proposing Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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