(Reuters) - The Spanish city of Bilbao has been dropped as a venue for this year's European Championship after it was unable to guarantee organisers it could host fans in the stadium for matches, but local officials say they will now seek compensation.
Authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the city would miss out on the June 11-July 11 tournament, having been due to host Spain's Group E games against Poland, Sweden and Slovakia.
UEFA are scheduled to make a final decision on the hosting rights of Bilbao, Munich and Dublin, three of 12 proposed venues for the tournament, on Friday as they seek assurances that the trio will allow fans into their stadiums for the games.
But Bilbao authorities say they have already received a letter from UEFA informing them of the decision to move the matches elsewhere.
The strict health protocols in the Basque region that have been set out as a pre-requisite by the local government to allow supporters in the stands have been described by the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) as unrealistic.
"The contract that unites us with UEFA and with the RFEF, and the official communication of UEFA is already in the hands of the legal services of the so-called 'Bilbao Committee' for study and evaluation," a statement from local authorities said.
"So that the compensation of the amounts invested to date in organising the event, which amounts to more than 1.2 million euros ($1.44 million), as well as the possible damages caused by said decision can be evaluated."
The nine venues that have so far been confirmed for Euro 2020, which was postponed and rescheduled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have committed to allowing stadium capacities of 25%, a number that authorities in Dublin and Munich are also battling to match.
The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said last week they would offer Seville’s La Cartuja stadium as an alternative venue for Euro 2020 matches should Bilbao be stripped of its games.
($1 = 0.8310 euros)
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis)