Lisbon's Meo Arena will once again host the UEFA Futsal Cup finals after Sporting Clube de Portugal were selected to stage the four-team event in late April.
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Lisbon's Meo Arena (formerly Pavilhão Atlântico) will once again host the UEFA Futsal Cup finals after Sporting Clube de Portugal were selected to stage the event in late April.
The decision was made by the UEFA Executive Committee, meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday. "It's some time since we have been to Portugal for futsal, and Sporting have qualified – the installations for the UEFA Futsal Cup [finals] in Lisbon are magnificent, we like Portugal very much, and this is a good reason to go there and have a beautiful futsal festival," explained UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino.
In 2001/02 Sporting held the eight-team final tournament of the competition's inaugural edition at the Pavilhão Atlântico and eight years later the four-sided event was also played there, hosts SL Benfica beating Inter FS to win the competition in front of a record 9,400 crowd.
Built for Expo '98 in Lisbon, the futuristic waterfront venue (originally named the Pavilhão da Utopia) was home to the Oceans and Utopias spectacle, seen by an estimated 3,286,520 people over five months.
Since then the arena has become a premier venue for major indoor sports including the 2000 ATP World Tour tennis finals and the 2001 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championship, as well as events such as the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards.
In the 2015 knockout finals, Sporting will be joined by the other three UEFA Futsal Cup elite round winners – holders FC Barcelona, 2013 winners Kairat Almaty and debutants ISK Dina Moskva of Russia, with the draw to be made in the spring.
Sporting follow in the footsteps of previous host clubs for the four-team finals: Araz Naxçivan (in Baku), Iberia Star Tbilisi, Barcelona (in Lleida), Kairat, Benfica, MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg, FC Dynamo (in Moscow) and ElPozo Murcia FS. From 2002/03 to 2005/06, the final was a two-legged affair.