Platini: Countries in the North, South, East and West of Europe Will All Stage Matches at Euro 2020
Football - 25 Jan 2013 - By Callum Murray in Nyon
Euro 2020, soccer’s European Championships, which are being promoted as a ‘Euro for Europe’, will be held in 13 countries covering all parts of the continent – “north, south, east and west”, according to Michel Platini, the president of Uefa - with 12 countries hosting three group-stage matches plus one knockout round match, and the 13th country hosting both semi-finals and the final in a single stadium.
Platini was talking today at a press conference at the Nyon headquarters of Uefa, following an executive committee meeting of soccer’s European governing body.
The venues will be limited to one per country, with stadia with a capacity of at least 70,000 required to stage the semi-finals and final, at least 60,000 for the quarter-finals and at least 50,000 for the round of 16 and group matches. However, an exception could be made for up to two stadia with a minimum capacity of 30,000, as Uefa bids to ensure that the championships are not limited to only the continent’s bigger and richer countries.
Platini said: “The executive committee supported the fact that two countries can present stadia with 30,000 seats . It makes it more accessible. Many more countries can bid than if it was limited to 50,000.”
Uefa has also said that all venues for Euro 2020 must be served by an airport with at least two terminals.
Uefa decided to press ahead with a multi-country European Championships in 2020 (the event is usually held in one or two countries) as part of plans to mark the 60th anniversary of the competition but also to avoid a clash with the Olympic Games as Turkey was in the running to host both events that year.
With respect to a possible Turkish bid to host matches in the competition, Platini said that he would welcome it, provided Istanbul has not succeeded in its bid to host the Olympics (the International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2020 Olympics in September this year, with Istanbul facing competition from Madrid and Tokyo).
The Uefa head said: “If Istanbul gets the Olympics, it’s out of the question for Turkey to organise the Euro or even a match of the Euro.”
The expanded Euro 2020 tournament will consist of six groups of four teams, with a maximum of two ‘host’ teams in each group, and Uefa also said that no team will automatically qualify for the tournament (usually, the host country is awarded automatic qualification).
The timeline for the bid process is:
• 28 March: approval of bid requirements and regulations by Uefa
• April: Publication of bid requirements and launch of bidding phase
• September: formal confirmation of bids by candidates
• April/May 2014: Submission of bid documents and start of evaluation phase
• September 2014: Appointment of host cities by Uefa executive committee.
Meanwhile, Uefa also announced that it has approved the 10 proposed venues for the Euro 2016 tournament, to be hosted by France. They are: Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis (Stade de France), Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
In reply to a question from Sportcal, Giannia Infantino, Uefa’s secretary general, said that CAA Eleven, Uefa’s recently-appointed marketing agency, will be responsible for the sale of media rights for Euro 2016 in Italy, Spain and the UK, the three remaining of Europe’s ‘big five’ territories, as well as other international territories. Deals in France and Germany had already been struck by Uefa itself before the appointment of CAA Eleven.
Asked for the timeline for the sale of rights in these territories, Infantino said: “The timeline is still being discussed, and will be fine-tuned in the coming weeks. But it will be in plenty of time for the competition.”
This morning, Sportcal revealed that CAA Eleven will shortly launch an invitation to tender for the media rights in Ukraine for Euro 2016.
The ITT will be issued on January 30 and broadcasters and media companies have been handed a bid submission deadline of February 22 at midday (CET).
In reference to a noisy group of demonstrators who were, perhaps surprisingly, allowed to stage a protest in the lobby of the Uefa building as journalists arrived for today’s press conference, Platini said: “This is an open house, pretty much anyone can walk into our home.”
The demonstrators, a group of various nationalities, were protesting on behalf of Palestine about Uefa’s plan to stage the European Under-21 Championship in Israel this summer.
Asked for Uefa’s view on the issue, Platini said: “Israel is part of Uefa. There have been problems [in the region] for a long time, but we do what we can to help young people have a better life, be it in Israel or Palestine. For example, we try to help players that have been jailed. I just had a letter from the president of the Palestinian Football Association thanking us for helping to release a player from an Israeli jail. We do a lot, but we don’t necessarily shout about it from the rooftops.”
Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in November, in response to intensifying rocket fire from Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists, killing dozens of civilians in what a group of soccer players said amounted to “yet another stain on the world's conscience.”