Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

The Top 4 Football Stadiums not selected to host the Champions League Final

Posted on 5 October 2017 by Aramide Oladipo

UEFA recently announced that La Liga giants Atlético Madrid will have the honour of hosting the 2019 Champions League final at their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

This will be the first time that the club’s stadium will host the final of the elite European club competition. Despite being one of the most recognised stadiums in world football, the Vicente Calderon, Atlético’s former home, was overlooked during its 51-year history.

With this in mind, let’s take a glance at some of the most famous football venues in Europe which have not been given the chance to host the Champions League final.

Anfield, Liverpool

Embed from Getty Images

Having won the European Cup five times, the Reds are the most successful British club in the elite competition.

In spite of being one of the most famous football clubs in the world, Liverpool have never been chosen to host the final at Anfield. The illustrious stadium is regarded as producing one of the best atmospheres on European nights.

Those who have had the pleasure of experiencing the Anfield atmosphere live on a Champions League night or even simply soaking up the excitement from their sofas, all know there is nothing quite like the Kop in unison belting out ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Anfield used to hold a capacity of “only” 45,000 which could explain why they have been overlooked in the past, but following their expansion to 54,000 at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, it is currently the sixth largest stadium in England and should be considered to host the Champions League final sooner rather than later.

Celtic Park, Celtic

Embed from Getty Images

The 48-time Scottish champions have also yet to host a Champions League final. Although Celtic are not currently considered one of the big boys in Europe’s top club competition, it must not be forgotten that they were the first British club to lift the European Cup back in 1967 thanks to a 2-1 victory against Italy’s Inter Milan at the Estádio Nacional in Portugal.

Similar to their compatriots south of the border, Celtic fans offer a sensational rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before kick-off and it has become one of the hardest stadiums for an opposing side to succeed.

Celtic Park is a 60,000 all-seater and can hold more than the Amsterdam Arena which hosted the 1998 Champions League final between Juventus and 11-time winners Real Madrid.

Glasgow has been the host city for the elite final on three occasions in the competition’s history and Celtic Park must be the next venue in Scotland to welcome the final.

Westfalenstadion, Dortmund

Embed from Getty Images

It is incredible to think that the fifth largest sports stadium in Europe has not been chosen to host one of the biggest nights on the football calendar.

Despite hosting matches during the 1974 and 2006 World Cups in Germany; not to mention the famous 2001 UEFA Cup between Liverpool and Alaves, UEFA has ignored the 80,000 plus all-seater stadium for the Champions League final.

Similar to the two British clubs previously mentioned, Dortmund have a fine history in the European competition. They managed to lift the coveted trophy following a 3-1 win over holders Juventus in Munich in 1997, and Dortmund supporters are recognised for being some of the best on the continent.

They would surely be honoured if their stadium was to host the biggest match between two European sides that year. It’s surely a matter of time.

Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Embed from Getty Images

Despite being the largest club stadium in France, Marseille have never been given the opportunity to host the European Cup final in its history. Only the French national stadium, Stade de France, has a larger capacity than the Vélodrome.

Although Paris Saint-Germain have dominated French football over the past couple of years, Marseille are still big players in Ligue 1, winning the league title a joint-record 10 times.

Marseille also made history in 1993 when they became the first club to win the Champions League in its debut format by overcoming Italian giants AC Milan.

The Vélodrome has held sporting events such as World Cup and European Championship football matches, as well as games for the Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cup tournaments.

Marseille would be an ideal city to hold the Champions League final in the future as it’s located in the South of France and supporters will be able to enjoy the build-up to the event in beautiful summer conditions.