Champions League: 'Eyes of world will be on Cardiff' for 2017 final

Cardiff's Principality Stadium
Cardiff's Principality Stadium hosted the FA Cup final between 2000 and 2006

The Football Association of Wales say Cardiff's preparations to host the 2017 Champions League final are on course.

The Principality Stadium will host the European football's showpiece event on Saturday, 3 June, 2017.

Welsh FA delegates were at Saturday's final on a fact-finding mission to ensure Cardiff is ready to host world football's biggest club game.

"The scale of the city is a challenge," said Alan Hamer, the Welsh FA's 2017 Champions League project director.

Wales forward Gareth Bale starred as Real beat city rivals Atletico in Saturday's final at the San Siro stadium in Milan.

The Principality Stadium will stage its first ever European football final next year having previously staged high profile events such as the 1999 Rugby World final and six FA Cup finals.

"The eyes of the world will be on Cardiff next year," said Hamer.

"The match will be viewed by 200m people worldwide and they're expecting 300,000 people to attend the fan zone in Milan over four days.

"The same attractions will apply in Cardiff next year so for those unable to get tickets for the match they need not miss out as there is a lot for people to do.

"It's not just the 90 minutes, there's a lot more. We believe we have a plan and clearly if Uefa didn't think we had a plan we wouldn't given us the event."

Cardiff City Stadium, which hosted the Uefa Super Cup final that Real Madrid won in 2014, will host the Women's Champions League final on Thursday, 1 June with the Champions festival held in the city.

"Uefa are very thorough and anyone staging one of their future showpiece finals goes on an observer programme," Hamer added.

"It's quite detailed and you get under the skin of everything.

"There's a lot that takes place in the city over four days and it's really trying to make sure everyone understands what we need to do, is prepared and makes Cardiff a big success."

Alan Hamer of the Football Association of Wales
Alan Hamer was previously chief executive of Glamorgan County Cricket Club

Cardiff were awarded the 2017 Champions League final in June 2015 after the FAW's unsuccessful bid to host Euro 2020 games.

Hamer admits staging such a big event will be a challenge as Cardiff is a smaller city than recent Champions League host cities such as Milan, Berlin and London.

But Hamer was confident transport problems which affected fans travelling to games in Cardiff for last year's Rugby World Cup would not be repeated in June 2017.

"We all know transport has been a topical point for major events in Wales over the last year or so," Hamer said.

"We're fully aware of it as are Uefa. We've spent a lot of time working with the rail operators and Cardiff and Bristol airports.

"It's really trying to temporarily gear the city up to operate at an increased capacity for a 72 hour period,

"If we can do that, and I'm confident we can, with the location of the stadium in the city centre, Cardiff will deliver one of the best Champions League final experiences."

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