Ballymena nets hosting role for UEFA tournament

Pictured at the launch of the 2020 UEFA European Under-19 Championship

The 2020 UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals have been officially launched, with a number of matches set to be played in Ballymena.

Northern Ireland will host the eight-team UEFA tournament for the first time from 19 July to 1 August next year, with matches being played in Ballymena, Belfast, Lurgan and Portadown.

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Deputy Mayor, Councillor Beth Adger, said: “I am delighted to welcome another prestigious event to Mid and East Antrim.

“We recently hosted the SuperCup NI competition which was a huge success.

“Events like these offer a welcome boost across Mid and East Antrim as visitors can enjoy our wonderful hospitality alongside our world-class sporting venues.”

Irish Football Association President David Martin said it was a great honour for the association to host Europe’s largest youth football tournament featuring national teams.

Rising stars of European football are set to play at next year’s event which will feature up to 16 matches over 14 days.

There will be 12 group matches, two semi-finals and a final – plus there’s scope for a play-off following the group stages if required.

The venues for the games are Ballymena Showgrounds, the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast, Lurgan’s Mourneview Park and Shamrock Park in Portadown.

Tournament Director Peter Gilpin said: “We are confident we can deliver a successful U19 Euros that will have long-lasting benefits for football right across Northern Ireland.”

The launch event was staged at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

Special guests included UEFA Ambassador Glen Johnson, the former England, Liverpool and Portsmouth player, Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill and Northern Ireland U19 manager Stephen Frail.

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