28 March 2008
Alvaro Velasco / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will be the venue for the 2010 Champions League final. The Executive Committee of UEFA determined so by discarding the candidatures of the Berlin, Munich and Wembley stadiums. Over 120 million people in the entire world will watch the match live. It will be the first Champions League final to be held on a Saturday.
The Madridista feud, which entered UEFA's Elite Stadium list four months ago, has held other important events in the past. It was the venue for the 1982 World Cup final and it will now host its fourth European Cup final. Paris and London have hosted more Europen finals than any other city -five each-, closely followed by Brussels and Vienna with four. Human tide
The figures of last year's final between Liverpool and Milan at Athen's Spyros Louis Olympic Stadium, which holds up to 63,000 people, can give us an idea of what such a monumental event entails.
The fact that the stadium will hold this final reaffirms Real Madrid's important presence in international institutions and recognises the excellent relations between the Club and UEFA, which sadly deteriorated a few years ago, but were recently strengthened. UEFA President Michel Platini strongly supports the Club, as proven by his attendance to the Alfredo di Stéfano worldwide tribute that recently took place.
The celebration of the final will have a strong impact on the city of Madrid. Hotels will be filled in just a couple of days, restaurants will have much more work to do and the touristic areas of the city will increase their number of visitors. The event will be a test for the city in its candidature to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
Madrid's Barajas airport will have to come up with a specific flight schedule, such as had to be done in Athens, which received 40,000 overseas fans on 200 specially charted flights besides the regular flights that are scheduled normally between Liverpool, Milan and the Greek city. There was a flight every 70 seconds, breaking the record established the day after the closing ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games, also held in Athens. The remaining 15,000 fans travelled by sea, train, bus and car. Another 17,000 people travelled to the Greek capital without a ticket, hoping to buy one in the resale, during which, according to police records, tickets were sold for as much as 2,000 times their original value; a 27-year old teacher was arrested when he was trying to sell a 240 euro ticket for 7,000 euros.
The Santiago Bernabéu has capacity to hold 71,569 fans during a Champions League game, which seems to indicate these figures will be much larger in Madrid.
The media plays a very important role in the final. It is believed close to 2,000 press passes will be handed out to journalists from different media.
The Athens match was followed by 120 million people all over the world by television, 43 million of which were in Germany, UK, Italy, France, Holland and Spain, the countries with the greatest football tradition in Europe.
UEFA have already come up with a book that includes all the necessities the journalists will have during the match: there will be 700 seats for the written press, 350 with desks; a press room with 300 seats; room for 175 photographers; 26 camera positions; 100 booths for commentators, each with three seats; a mixed zone capable of holding 200 people; 30 radio spots for two people each; and 700 technicians.
The match for which Real Madrid gave its largest number of press passes was one of the 2002 Champions League semifinals. The game was covered in situ by 226 different media from all over the world: 83 agencies and newspapers, 33 radio stations, 65 photographers, and 45 television stations. A total of 680 press passes were handed out and journalists had to work from special spots at the stadium since the usual ones had become too small for the event.
Six years from then, the stadium has been completely revamped, and the Club was capable of handing out as many as 400 press passes for television alone for the Real Madrid-Barcelona fixture held on 22 October 2006. They used 90 camera positions, 43 of which were covered by Canal +, who had the rights to broadcast the match live.
Security is a very important element in a Champions League final. Athenian police displayed an operative of 8,000 policemen the days prior to the game and of 15,000 on the day of the match. Both teams stayed in hotels distant from each other in order to avoid vilent confontations between their fans.
Other international finals held at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium:
FIRST FINAL (30-5-1957)
The second European Cup final was held at the Bernabéu. Real Madrid defeated Fiorentina 2-0 with goals by Di Stéfano and Gento.
REAL MADRID: Juan Alonso; Torres, Marquitos, Lesmes; Muñoz, Zárraga; Kopa, Mateos, Di Stéfano, Rial & Gento.
FIORENTINA: Sarti; Magnini, Orzan, Cervato; Scaramucci, Segato; Julinho, Gratton, Virgili, Montuori & Bizzarri.
SECOND FINAL (28-5-1969)
The 14th European Cup final also took place in Madrid. Milan defeated Ajax 4-1 with goals by Prati (3) and Sormani. Vasovic scored the only Dutch goal.
MILAN: Cudicini; Anquilletti, Rosato, Malatrasi, Schnellinger; Lodetrti, Trapattoni, Rivera; Hamrin, Sormani & Prati.
AJAX: Bals; Subiré (Muller, 46'), Vasovic, Hulshoff, Van Duivenbode; Swart, Pronk, Groot (Nuninga, 46'); Danielsson, Cruyff & Keizer.
THIRD FINAL (28-5-1980)
UEFA chose the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as the venue for the 25th final of the European Cup. Nottingham Forest won 1-0 against Hamburg with a strike by Robertson.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Shilton; Anderson, Lloyd, Burns, Gray (Gunn, 66'); McGorven, O`Neill, Bowyer, Mills (O`Hare, 83'); Birtles & Robertson.
HAMBURG: Kargus; Kaltz, Nogly, Hieronymus (Hrubesch, 46'), Buljan; Jakobs, Magath, Menering, Milewski; Keegan & Reimann.
FOURTH FINAL (11-7-1982)
The White Colosseum hosted the World Cup final in 1982. Italy defeated German 3-1 with goals by Rossi, Tardelli and Altobelli. Breitner scored for the Germans.
ITALY: Zoff; Gentile, Collovatti, Scirea, Cabrini; Bergomi, Oriali, Tardelli, Conti; Graziani (Altobelli, 8'; Causio, 88') & Rossi.
GERMANY: Schumacher; Kaltz, K. H. Förster, Stielike, Briegel ; B. Foster, Breitner, Dremmler (Hrubesch, 65'), Litbarski; Fischer & Rummenigge (Müller, 65').