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The Downside to England’s Euro 2016 Draw

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Although England drew favorable opposition for Euro 2016’s group stage, the standard of competition poses a problem for the FA as they fear a struggle to fill Wembley.

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It appears as if the Euro 2016 draw is double-edged sword for the Football Association. On one hand, England should be able to finish in its group’s top two, ensuring that the Three Lions advance to the next stage in the competition. On the other, the level of competition poses a problem, as the FA needs to fill renovated Wembley Stadium to guarantee that they stay ahead on payments for the stadium.

The FA is now looking into cutting ticket prices and booking big names for friendlies to ensure that the remaining £277 million of debt can be paid off in a timely fashion.

When asked about attracting large enough crowds in the group stage, England manager Roy Hodgson expressed the uncertainties of the situation, saying, "It’s a good question. I’ll have to leave the job of (filling) Wembley to someone else. I’d like to think with our performances and the way we play that we will do it but I do understand the point."

"We've got to balance this with how we make the friendlies attractive as well to the fans who come to every game," said Adrian Bevington, Club England’s managing director."We've got to sit down with Roy and the commercial department. I'm confident we will still get good crowds at Wembley.

"We would look to get high-ranking opponents, good opposition. That doesn't mean we would never play someone outside the elite, or an away game, because there will be times the manager wants us to play an away game, but generally we want to populate the friendlies with attractive opposition, to make sure we get teams who are much higher seeded, as we have done recently with Germany and Brazil."

Given the past popularity of the English team travelling to Premier League grounds in a tour of sorts and the amount of capital diverted away from youth development, the matter of filling Wembley has proved a source of frustration for England supporters. But in many ways, England will stand to benefit from the need to fill the famed ground’s stands. We will likely see some fantastic competition at home and reduced ticket prices to some of the Euro 2016 group stage games.

[Source: The Telegraph]