Croke Park may become fan zone for Europa League final

Croke Park may become fan zone for Europa League final

Reports have emerged that Ireland's 80,000-seater stadium, Croke Park, could be used as a fan park for the Europa League final to be held in May because of future capacity issues

Europe's second-tier elite football competition will be held in Dublin, and the likes of Bayern Leverkusen, Liverpool, AC Milan, Rangers, and other teams could make the final in Dublin.

The final is on Wednesday, May 22, and will take place in Ireland's and Dublin's other 52,000-capacity Aviva Stadium.

If the very likely scenario of Liverpool making the final occurs and their huge Irish fanbase comes over, capacity and accommodation problems are sure to appear in May. There is also the possibility of a Liverpool vs. Rangers final, which is a guaranteed sellout because of the history of both clubs.

The cost of hotels in Dublin will go up, fans will most likely travel without tickets, and because of this, UEFA has admitted that the potential final in May could end up being "challenging" for the organisation.

"Under certain conditions, because of the potential teams that could qualify, this might end up being the most challenging for us," UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said on Tuesday

"We know they will bring a number of supporters without tickets, and then there is the issue of potential public viewing venues.

"There are a couple of pairings—I won't speculate on the names, but you are clever enough to work it out—that would be extremely challenging to find ways to accommodate everybody that will be present for that game."

To help with this, Croker has been reserved as a spill-off venue that would see large screens installed in the middle of the pitch and would cater to ticket-less supporters.

"We have already reserved Croke Park as a potential public viewing venue, but that could not be enough," he added.

"We are working on this already, together with the local authorities and also Football Supporters Europe.

"If we do get to one of those scenarios, we will also go to the supporters of the clubs involved to find the best solution."

Theodoridis also added that Croke Park may not be enough for UEFA and that other venues may be needed. He claims that they are working on finding solutions to the potential problem

"The biggest problem we have now is whether Croke Park will be big enough, because we think we would need more alternatives for public viewing for the people who will be in Dublin," he said

"It's not an easy operation, and it is just for a couple of scenarios, which would make it extremely complicated, especially with clubs that already have a large fanbase on the island of Ireland.

"But we are working on it and will involve the fanbases as well. We have to see who gets to the semis, and then we will start to work with them as well."