September 19, 2017 / 5:57 PM / a year ago

Soccer: Belgium awaiting UEFA decision on Brussels Euro 2020 matches

GENEVA (Reuters) - Belgian football officials are waiting to find out whether Brussels will be able to stage matches at the pan-European Euro 2020 tournament.

The building of a new Brussels stadium has run into delays involving the applications for construction and environmental permits and the Belgian FA says it is up to European soccer body UEFA to decide how long they want to wait for more progress.

“We still believe but we are realistic that it’s a decision that depends on other parties,” the Belgian federation’s secretary general Koen De Brabander told reporters from international news agencies. “We as a federation are not in the lead to take decisions.”

De Brabander said that a new application was lodged in August with the Flemish government, taking advantage of new legislation allowing for a more streamlined process. He said it would now take a maximum of 150 days for a decision to be made on planning permission and another 12 to 18 months for the stadium itself to be built.

That would mean the stadium should be ready in the autumn of 2019, nine months before the start of tournament. De Brabander said there was a meeting last week with the constructors and European soccer body UEFA. “It’s UEFA who has to take the decision,” he said.

Brussels is one of 13 cities around Europe which will host the tournament. It is due to stage matches in the group stage and round of 16. UEFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

De Brabander said the stadium would be built in any case as the Belgian national side needed a new home to replace the King Baudouin ground.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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