The historic Santiago Bernabéu, home stadium of Real Madrid CF, in Madrid will host the 2010 UEFA Champions League final, with UEFA awarding the same season’s UEFA Cup final to the Arena Hamburg. Now boasting a capacity of over 71,000, the Bernabéu has staged three previous European Champion Clubs’ Cup finals. Real Madrid won the first of them, beating AC Fiorentina 1-0 in 1957, before AC Milan had a memorable night in the Spanish capital when they defeated AFC Ajax 4-1 in the 1969 edition. More recently, Nottingham Forest FC overcame Hamburg 1-0 in the 1980 final.
The other stadiums that had been competing for the 2010 final were Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Munich’s Allianz Arena, Valencia’s Mestalla and London’s Wembley, which was discounted for 2010 after failing to provide assurances that players competing in the final would not be taxed by the British government.
The Arena Hamburg, home to Hamburger SV, opened in 2000 on the site of Hamburg’s old Volksparkstadion and was the setting for matches at the 2006 World Cup. The Volksparkstadion also hosted group-stage games at the 1974 World Cup and the semi-final of the 1988 UEFA European Championship, where West Germany lost 2-1 to the Netherlands.
UEFA also announced that the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Super Cup matches will be played at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, as is the custom. The 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship was awarded to France, and the same year’s U17 event to Liechtenstein, while Nyon will stage the 2009 UEFA European Women’s U17 Championship.
2010’s Champions League final will be unique as it will be played on a Saturday rather than the usual mid-week affair that it has been. UEFA’s executive committee had planned to announce the holders of both the 2010 and 2011 finals but will now reopen the bidding for 2011. The fact that UEFA did not simply award the 2011 event to one of the German bids is likely to offer some comfort to the Wembley bid. UEFA also delayed their decision on the 2011 UEFA Cup final since UEFA tries to avoid having major finals organised by the same countries in consecutive years.