TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The Albanian government has declared a public holiday in Tirana for next Wednesday when the capital city hosts the Europa Conference League final between Roma and Feyenoord.
The capital will be a pedestrian-only zone as part of measures "to organize in the most exemplary way one of the most major events that have occurred in Albania,” Interior Minister Bledi Cuci said Wednesday.
Up to 100,000 Italian and Dutch fans are expected in Tirana even though each side has been allocated only 4,000 tickets for the inaugural final of the third-tier European club competition.
Capacity at the National Arena (Arena Kombetare) in Tirana is just 20,000.
“We are undertaking all the measures to make the day festive for everyone, not only for Italian and Dutch fans,” Cuci said.
UEFA picked Tirana as host in December 2020, one year after the new stadium officially opened and before any team qualified to enter the debut competition.
The final is a higher-profile match than was envisaged by many in 2018 when UEFA decided to create the Europa Conference League. Its aim was to give more opportunities for clubs in lower-ranked countries to stay involved in European competitions beyond December.
An even smaller stadium — the Eden Arena in Prague — is set to host the 2023 final.
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Llazar Semini, The Associated Press