Posted on Mar 02, 2021
UEFA has revealed it will not consider hosting Euro 2020 solely in England, despite ongoing Europe-wide concerns around the current pandemic.
The UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is believed to have signalled to European football’s governing body that they could host all the matches, instead of the tournament taking place across the continent as previously planned.
The offer comes because of the UK’s excellent vaccination implementation, but it seems UEFA are not swayed by this, or any other attempt to hijack the hosting. After receiving a similar offer from Israel, UEFA put out a clear statement on the situation, cementing their intention to hold the tournament across Europe. “UEFA fully intends that all its events (including club finals and the EURO) will be staged in their intended venues and is working hard with its partners and stakeholders to secure that,” they are reported by Team Talk as saying.
That means host cities London, Glasgow, Dublin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Bilbao, Munich, Budapest, Baku, Rome and Bucharest are all still scheduled to host games.
Whilst fans will not see the whole tournament hosted in England, as they did in 1996, they should still see both semi-finals and the final as they are scheduled to take place in London.
Euro 2020 promises to be groundbreaking for many reasons, not least because it will take place a year later than the name suggests, in 2021. That is because of the pandemic last year, which saw it cancelled and pushed back. It also means fans of international football are in for a treat, as a back-to-back tournament with Qatar 2022 is scheduled.
It is also the first to take place across multiple countries, although not the first to be split. In 2000 Belgium and the Netherlands co-hosted the tournament, which Austria and Switzerland did in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine in 2012. This is more ambitious though, a truly all-encompassing tournament for the modern age. It will also be the last European Championship for arguably the greatest player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo.
He was just 19 when he appeared in Euro 2004, helping Portugal to the final and a shock defeat against Greece. He made up for that in 2016, finally lifting a major international honour as Portugal beat France. He is 36 now and is still one of the top players in the world today, with Bwin demonstrating how his partnership with Paulo Dybala is one of the best in Serie A. Despite his stock still being high, he will be 39 by the time Euro 2024 comes around in Germany and highly unlikely to feature.
The European Championships started out as a competition for just four teams and spent many years at just eight, but Euro 2020 welcomes 24, with North Macedonia and Finland in their first-ever major tournament. Group highlights include current champions Portugal going up against world champions France in a group which also involves three-time winners Germany and rivals England and Scotland paired together as they were in 1996.
It certainly promises to be an exciting and engrossing tournament, and a long-awaited one too as fans have had to wait three years for a summer full of football. What they cannot expect, is for one country to swoop in and claim it for themselves, which to UEFA’s credit is surely the right choice.
Image (Christian Ronaldo): By Анна Нэсси - https://www.soccer.ru/galery/1053759/photo/730330, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...
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