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Slovenia to co-host U-21 European football championship

Dublin, 3 December - Slovenia and Hungary will co-host the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, confirmed the executive committee of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Dublin on Friday, with the two neighbouring countries being the only candidates to host the tournament.

A football.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

It will be the biggest football tournament in Slovenia to date, coming after the country hosted the U-17 European football championships in 2012 and the UEFA Futsal Euro this February.

Radenko Mijatović, the president of the Slovenian Football Association, said that the decision was "a great recognition for the football associations of Slovenia and Hungary and a result of an transparent and excellent bid."

Admitting that the tournament will be a tough task for the two small organisations, he said that Slovenia was capable of hosting major events, with "UEFA still remembering this year's European championship in futsal."

As the co-hosts, Hungary and Slovenia have an automatic spot at the tournament, with the latter actually making a debut appearance at the European football championships for men's under-21 national teams.

The tournament in Slovenia and Hungary will feature 12 teams, with players born on or after 1 January 1998 being eligible. The remaining tens spots will be determined through qualifications.

The draw for the qualifying group stage will be held on 11 December, and the group stage will take place between March 2019 and October 2020. The play-offs will take place in November 2020.

Slovenia and Hungary decided to file the joint bid in 2017, with Slovenia picking Ljubljana, Maribor and Celje as host cities. Slovenia will host ten matches, including the opening match, while the finals will be played in Hungary.

© STA, 2018