The UEFA announced Thursday that the 2020 European Football Championship will be breaking with tradition and take place in numerous cities accross Europe rather than in individual host countries, describing it as a ” Euro for Europe”.
UEFA’s executive committee has given the green light to holding the European championships in 2020 across the continent, the ruling body’s secretary-general Gianni Infantino said on Thursday.
Former French captain Michel Platini, who is president of UEFA, first mooted the idea of holding the tournament in a number of cities earlier this year, as a way of avoiding high costs at a time of dire financial constraints in many countries.
“UEFA Euro 2020 will be staged across the continent, in various major cities, following a decision taken today,” said Infantino, calling the tournament in eight years’ time “A Euro for Europe”.
“The response has been extremely positive from all the national associations, he added.
Turkey, which has put itself forward as a candidate for 2020 alongside Azerbaijan and Georgia and a three-way bid from the Republic of Ireland, Wales and Scotland, was the only country opposed to the project.
Istanbul is also a candidate to host the Olympic Games in the same year, although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that having one country host two major events so close to each other is against its rules.
FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke, speaking in a personal capacity, said last week that he failed to grasp the concept of a continent-wide tournament, saying it would destroy the competition.
Platini said before the eve of this year’s Euro finals that the 60th anniversary of the competition, which is held every four years, could involve “12 or 13 cities across Europe” and that most of the 53 UEFA federations were in favour.
Central to his argument was that it would make organisation easier, after serious concerns about cost overruns and infrastructure delays in this year’s hosts Poland and particularly Ukraine.