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AP sources: St Petersburg, Munich, Wembley set for CL finals

August 30, 2019
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The Champions League trophy is displayed before the UEFA group stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
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The Champions League trophy is displayed before the UEFA group stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

MONACO (AP) — UEFA is putting forth St. Petersburg, Munich and Wembley as venues for a trio of Champions League finals, two people with knowledge of the process told The Associated Press.

European football’s governing body typically awards the hosting rights one year at a time but it has decided to focus on longer-term planning after this year’s final in Istanbul in May, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss UEFA’s plans ahead of expected confirmation by the executive committee at a meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Sept. 24.

Russia and Germany were vying to host the final at the end of the 2020-21 season. But the 68,000-capacity home of Zenit St. Petersburg is now favored, with UEFA giving the 75,000-seat Allianz Arena in Munich, which staged the 2012 final, another shot in 2022.

The 90,000-capacity Wembley is due to host the 2023 final to mark the centenary year of the original stadium first opening on the north London site.

UEFA is already using the three stadiums at the 2020 European Championship, with Wembley staging seven games including the semifinals and final. It will also be the venue of the Women’s European Championship final in 2021.

The 2023 Champions League final will be the eighth time Wembley has been the venue for the European Cup title game, with the 2011 and 2013 taking place since the stadium was completely rebuilt.

UEFA is about to start selling the television rights for 2021-24 and prospective broadcasters will now know where one of the most watched games in soccer will be staged for two of the three seasons in the cycle.

UEFA is keen on using large venues for the Champions League final after Liverpool and Tottenham fans only got 16,000 tickets in Madrid — attendance at the Atletico stadium was given as 63,272.

Since the 2005 final, only teams from England, Spain, Germany and Italy have reached the Champions League final.

One decision already confirmed on Friday is a cap on ticket prices for away fans in the Champions League and Europa League, using the cheapest price for each competition’s finals.

An emergency panel of UEFA agreed that away fans should be charged a maximum of 70 euros ($77) throughout the Champions League and 45 euros ($50) in the second-tier Europa League.

The ruling came after Barcelona last season charged Liverpool and Manchester United fans 119 euros ($131).

“This represents progress, and we commend UEFA for their forward thinking,” Football Supporters Europe executive director Ronan Evain said. “The cap will eliminate the most egregious cases of overpricing, but it is, in our opinion, still too high.

“Thankfully, the impact of the new regulation will be reviewed at the end of the season, and as such, we will focus our efforts on lobbying the relevant parties to lower it,” he said.

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