Berlin will stage its first UEFA Champions League final in 2015 while Poland will host a major European club final for the first time through Warsaw’s staging of the Europa League’s showpiece game, UEFA announced on Thursday.
Berlin’s Olympiastadion hosted the 1936 Olympic Games and the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but has never been awarded one of UEFA’s main events. Germany has hosted the Champions League final on four previous occasions, in Munich in 1993, 1997 and 2012 and Gelsenkirchen in 2004. “I had expressed our wish during the 2012 final in Munich to (UEFA president) Michel Platini that we would like to again host such a global event pretty soon,” said German Football Federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach. “It is recognition of our abilities as organisers and hosts that this will now happen so soon. I thank UEFA for the trust and promise a superb football celebration in Berlin.”
The award of the 2015 Europa League final to Warsaw’s National Stadium comes after the facility was developed as a key host venue for Euro 2012, staging the opening game and the semi-final which saw Italy defeat Germany 2-1. Polish Football Association president Zbigniew Boniek said: “Needless to say this prestigious sporting event will be important for the promotion of the Polish Football Association, the city of Warsaw, our country, our society and culture. To get the possibility to organise competitions such as the Europa League final in 2015, you must have the great confidence of management bodies like UEFA.” UEFA last year awarded the 2014 Champions League final to the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal, while Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy, will stage next year’s Europa League finale.
In other news, UEFA is expected to confirm a shake-up of the Europa League today which will see the winning team earn a lucrative place in the Champions League from 2015. The Europa League is a reincarnation of the UEFA Cup, which was rebranded and restructured ahead of the 2009-10 campaign, but has continually suffered by being painted as the poor relation to the Champions League, while a huge financial chasm exists between the two competitions.