Monday, February 16, 2009

Champions League: UEFA Gets It Right

The recent selection of London and Munich as the venues for the 2011 and 2012 Champions League Finals is a positive step for UEFA as the biggest game in club football grows into a truly global event. Some of the recent venues- Istanbul (2005), Athens (2007) and Moscow (2008)- have been head scratchers. While the goal of spreading the event across the continent is a noble one, sending Western fans to Eastern outposts has been less than ideal. In 2007, dozens of Liverpool fans were turned away at the gate due to security concerns despite holding legitimate tickets. Last year's final in Moscow featured pre-game holding pens for rival Manchester United and Chelsea fans.

While Rome and Madrid are more desirable destinations for the Final this year and next, the stadiums are hardly the most up-to-date. That changes in 2011, when the state-of-the-art Wembley Stadium brings the Final back to England for the time since 2003. The following year, Munich's modern Allianz Arena takes center stage.

Moving the Final to Saturday in 2010 will build the game's profile. It's nice to see UEFA staging the games in stadiums that will do the same.

1 comment:

Doug said...

A nice picture there in front of Allianz Arena during the '06 WC. The smiles are genuine as we are happy to be alive after surviving the subway ride out there!