Wales want to host Euro 2020 matches if a host city withdraws

Principality Stadium
Cardiff national stadium has hosted FA Cup finals, the 1999 Rugby World Cup final and the 2017 Champions League final

Wales would be keen to stage matches at Euro 2020 if one of the host cities pulls out, Football Association of Wales chief Jonathan Ford has said.

The tournament is being spread among 13 host cities across the continent.

Wales successfully staged the Champions League final and want to build on that.

"We've just staged the biggest single sporting event of 2017 - that's got to go some way to showing people we can absolutely come to the table and host major finals in the future," said Ford.

The FAW failed in a bid to be named as one of the host countries for the 60th anniversary of the European Championships.

Wembley, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Aviva Stadium in Dublin were chosen.

The other cities chosen were Munich, Rome, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Budapest, St Petersburg, Brussels, Bilbao, Bucharest and the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.

However, doubts have emerged over whether Brussels will be able to host games. The proposed new Eurostadium in Grimbergen, just north of the Belgian capital, has yet to be built.

Plans for the new 60,000-capacity national stadium have been hit by a number of disagreements over the cost and scale of the project with proposed tenants Anderlecht pulling out.

It's understood the 50,000 King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, where Belgium currently play their home matches, lacks the facilities to meet UEFA criteria to stage tournament matches.

"We don't know about Belgium yet - there is some talk that the (new) stadium might not be built in time," Ford told BBC Wales Sport.

"If that's the case, UEFA would need to make some decisions. Do they use some of the existing stadiums? Do they need another venue?

"If they need another venue they will go through an open bidding procedure - we may just be interested."

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Ford said Uefa would have to make a decision soon on whether Brussels was still in a position to host Euro 2020 games.

"I would've thought over the summer period there would have to be some significant demonstration that Belgium (the new stadium) was going to be built or not.

"(If not) there would then be a relatively swift procedure - an open and transparent procedure for bidding.

"We've got a long way to go before we can even consider whether we'd put our names in the hat."

But he added, "The government, the county council…there are a lot of stakeholders who'd have to be consulted.

"Ultimately I think it demonstrated over this last weekend that we can work extremely well together."

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An estimated 170,000 fans were in Cardiff on Saturday as more than 6,000 police officers from forces throughout the UK were on duty across the weekend.

Google Trends reported that five minutes before kick-off on Saturday, more people were searching online for Cardiff than New York City - three times the usual level of traffic. The most popular country searching Cardiff was Italy, home of Juventus.

Twitter said there were more than 420,000 tweets searching for Cardiff over the weekend among the nine million tweets on Saturday night as Real Madrid beat Juventus.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: "The Uefa Champions League finals were an enormous success, with Cardiff and Wales once again cementing themselves as one of the finest hosts on the world stage.

"There will be millions of people across the globe who will have sat up and took notice of Wales as a place to visit, work and do business and the next challenge is for us to ensure we capitalise on this."

Over 66,000 people were in attendance the final, won 4-1 by Real Madrid.

"First we need to reflect and savour what a fantastic moment the Champions League final was for us - the biggest football event we've ever staged in this country," said Ford.

"There was understandably a bit of scepticism that we could pull it off - we were the smallest association, the smallest country ever to stage a Champions League final.

"We always said judge us after the event not before it. All of the key stakeholders have been incredibly positive. It was a fantastic final.

"I'm delighted it all went off safely and securely. We should be very proud of our achievements."

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