Cardiff, Wales and Millennium Stadium have been chosen by UEFA to host the 2017 Champions League Final. UEFA confirmed the news in a release on their official twitter account:
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 30, 2015
This marks the first time the European Cup/Champions League Final will be held in the country.
The Welsh FA have been trying for years to bring a major competition back to the city but they are not the only ones pleased to see the Champions League final coming to Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium. Wales internationals Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, who play for Arsenal and Real Madrid, respectively, are hoping their club team can make the final.
Great choice, great stadium, hopefully will be there ? https://t.co/sJPTwrpCKg
— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) June 30, 2015
“Staging major football finals is one of the objectives contained within the FAW’s Strategic Plan – we believe that staging both the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final and 2017 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final will have a positive and long-lasting effect on Welsh football,” FA Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford said at the announcement.
Some interesting Quick Facts about Millennium Stadium:
- The Millennium Stadium opened on June 26, 1999 and built to host matches at the 1999 Rugby World Cup
- At 74,500 seats it is the 2nd Largest Covered stadium in world with retractable roof. The roof takes 20 minutes to open. The largest covered stadium…Dallas Cowboy Stadium.
- The removable playing surface is made up 7,412 squares of turf. These are removed when the venue hosts concerts and other non-sporting events.
- Jari Litmanen scored the stadium’s first international goal in Finland’s 2-1 triumph over Wales on 29 March 2000.
- Millennium Stadium hosted the FA Cup Final, League Cup Final, Football League Trophy Final, Football League play-off Finals, FA Community Shield, Challenge Cup while Wembley Stadium was being renovated from 2001 until 2006.
The UEFA Champions League final is arguably the most important annual soccer match. Last year’s Champions League Final between Juventus and Barcelona saw a global TV audience of 180 million over more than 200 territories making it the 4th most watched sporting event in history.
This is not, however, the first major cup final in the city as the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla FC was played in Cardiff City Stadium in 2014. The success of this match was cited as one of the major reasons why the city was given the Champions League Final. There have also been a host of other domestic cup finals in Millennium Stadium as it hosted the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the Football League playoffs from 2001 to 2006 when Wembley was being rebuilt.