Europa League Final 2024: Liverpool vs. Rangers – Dublin and UEFA face off

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The potential showdown between Rangers and Liverpool in the 2024 Europa League final poses significant obstacles for Dublin and UEFA. The team dedicates their best efforts to get a spot in the quarter-finals. Hence, the possibility of a face-off between these powerhouse clubs becomes more imminent. UEFA has conveyed concerns about the potential surge of fans that may converge in Dublin if this matchup succeeds.

The final match on May 22 will be organized at Croke Park, which has a capacity of up to 82,000 fans. Demand for attending this event in Dublin is within the venue’s seating limit despite the fact that it’s fully utilized. Both clubs have considerable followings in Ireland and remain in contention to compete at the Aviva Stadium.

Rangers are level with Benfica heading into the second leg at Ibrox on Thursday, whereas Liverpool leads 5-1 against Sparta Prague with the return at Anfield to come. Due to Liverpool’s powerful Irish support and Rangers’ dedicated fanbase in Northern Ireland, Dublin’s city centre could be flooded with supporters from both sides, creating logistical challenges.

Dublin’s Europa League Final: Challenges

Hotel accommodations are gradually becoming scarce for the event, and security concerns are further increasing the complexity. Due to Dublin’s incapability to secure hosting rights for Euro 2020 matches, UEFA has selected the city to organize the Europa League final instead. The Aviva Stadium, originally scheduled for four Euro 2020 games, will now be the location for this esteemed final.

The GAA has verified discussions with UEFA about the possibility of using Croke Park as an extra fan zone if Liverpool and Rangers proceed to the final. However, the residents may pose another challenge, as Croke Park has several outstanding concerts scheduled during that timeframe, including Bruce Springsteen’s show on May 19.

In a press conference, UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis addressed the potential challenges and confirmed ongoing discussions with Irish authorities regarding fan zones. Moreover, the Europa League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday.

European Competitions Expand Next Season

Theodoridis also disclosed that a new format will be employed for all European competitions beginning next season. This format will witness each tournament expand to accommodate 36 teams and feature different match rounds. This restructuring aims to benefit each team with a more significant number of top-tier matches and boost the competitiveness of games, thus uplifting the overall quality of European football.

UEFA Tackles Expanded Competition Challenges

Introducing this new format poses unique challenges regarding scheduling and administering player workload. UEFA is dedicated to partnering with stakeholders to solve these issues. It aims to minimize disruptions and guarantee the smooth operation of the competition.

Its approach may include modifying domestic cup competitions and discussing scheduling arrangements with broadcasters. Furthermore, UEFA will continue monitoring fan conduct during matches, confirming its commitment to prioritizing the safety and health of all spectators.

Theodore Theodoridis mentioned that the Europa League final is one of their most significant challenges this year. The unpredictability of the teams’ progress to the Europa League final and the challenges posed by Dublin’s limited capacity highlight the significance of thorough planning and cooperation between UEFA and local authorities.

Theodore mentioned that accommodating everyone attending the match would take a lot of work. However, he presented an optimistic perspective, stating that the ongoing work will address this challenge. It is a complex undertaking, particularly with clubs that already present a large fanbase on the island of Ireland. He also added that once semifinalists are determined, the UEFA and local authorities will work with them, too.

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