La Cartuja as unexpected replacement for Bilbao

source:; author: Tomasz

La Cartuja as unexpected replacement for Bilbao After the largest city of the Basque Country resigned from hosting Euro 2020, it seemed that the honour would go to Barcelona or Madrid. However, UEFA's choice fell on Seville, but it will not be the stadium of any of its top clubs.


Football in Spain is associated not only with the excellent technique of players, but also with iconic venues such as Camp Nou and Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. The latter is under reconstruction and will likely not be able to host matches until the end of 2022. There is also the newly built Atletico Madrid stadium, which was the subject of speculation when Bilbao withdrew from organizing the European Championship due to being unable to admit fans.

Football supporters in the Iberian Peninsula will be able to cheer on their team at Estadio Olímpico de la Cartuja. The Spaniards are one of the main favourites of the tournament, as we can see by analyzing the odds on Support from their own crowd and very average rivals to beat in the group stage (Poland, Sweden, Slovakia) is a big handicap for "La Furia Roja". Promotion to the next round seems like a very simple task, especially as three teams can advance from the group if the results are favourable.

Playing matches with fans present at the stadium was one of the main conditions of the European football federation, which were placed on the host cities. Due to the decision of the local health department in Bilbao, which was related to the refusal to accept fans, an alternative to San Mamés Barria had to be found. UEFA did not want to deprive the Spaniards of the possibility of hosting Euro 2020, so it gave them time to find a suitable place to replace Bilbao.

Estadio Olimpico La CartujaFot: Discober92

They chose Seville and the stadium that was built over 20 years ago. This is quite remarkable as it is located on the island of Cartuja, between two arms of the river. It was planned that the facility would be home to two local clubs: Betis and Sevilla FC. They were to use the venue alternately, such as clubs in Milan. Eventually, the idea was abandoned as it was met with great dissatisfaction by supporters of both clubs.

In 2007, Betis played at this stadium for a short time, but only because its venue was closed at the time due to incidents that occurred during a Copa del Rey derby match that year. The authorities of "Los Verdiblancos" had to find a replacement facility outside the city, and it so happens that "La Cartuja" lies outside the administrative boundaries of the municipality of Seville, so the problem was easily resolved.

The venue was supposed to be the main arena for the 2004 Olympics, but lost to Athens, which was a clear favourite long before the final vote. Moreover, Seville's application did not even go to the voting phase, which consisted of four rounds. In 2008, Seville again applied to host the Olympics and this time also without success. However, the stadium's alternative name is still in use, which is Estadio Olímpico de Sevilla.

Because of the fact that the venue has an athletics track, it hosts important athletic events from time to time. The first major event was the 7th World Athletics Championships in 1999 with 1,821 participants from 201 countries. Twice (2003, 2011) the final of the tennis Davis Cup took place at the facility. The biggest football event so far was the 2003 UEFA Cup Final, in which FC Porto defeated Celtic Glasgow 3-2.

Football was rarely coming to Estadio Olímpico de la Cartuja. Before 2020, the Spaniards played there only four times. Paradoxically, the arena was helped by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the national federation has decided that the stadium will host four consecutive Copa del Rey finals (2020-2023). In addition, the Spanish national team began to play more often at "La Cartuja". Due to travel restrictions related to the epidemic, several European cup fixtures were held at the facility in 2021.

It is now the fifth largest stadium in Spain and the second largest in Andalusia after Estadio Benito Villamarín. We wish all fans traveling to Seville for Euro 2020 matches a lot of sports emotions. During Euro 2020, Estadio La Cartuja in Seville will be open to at least 30% of its capacity, i.e. at least 17,000 spectators will be admitted. Keep in mind that in June in Andalusia the temperature often exceeds 30 degrees Celsius.