In 2020, for the first time in football history, the European Championships will be held in 13 cities in different countries across the European continent.
It was exactly one month ago that the UEFA executive committee met in Sofia to approve the bidding requirements and regulations to host the Euro 2020.
Just like Euro 2016 in France, Euro 2020 will include 24 European nations divided into six groups of four. There will be no automatic qualification. The top two teams of every group will advance to the knockout stage along with the four best third-placed teams.
The 13 cities to receive this tournament will be decided in a conference in Lausanne in December. Only one city per country will be allowed, and 12 cities will have a package allowing them to host three group matches as well as one knockout round in either the round of 16 or quarter-finals. The final city will have a unique package to host both semi-finals and the final.
Each national association can submit up to two bids and present their cities. They may choose to present two bids for different cities for either package.
In the end, though, why would UEFA decide to change the organisation of one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events?
UEFA justified this decision by claiming that this was to counter the period of austerity occurring throughout Europe. The hosting of the tournament by one country indeed is quite costly with the necessary renovation and construction of stadiums, hotels, roads, airports and the reinforcing of security. In addition, the expanded format of the tournament can also be to blame for this.
Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski claimed in their book 'Soccernomics' that a nation hosting a major sporting event such as the European Championships does not benefit economically because of the billions of Euros that are spent preparing. They claim that a government chooses to volunteer to host a sporting event for the sense of unity and patriotism that is created.
This sense of community will not be found at Euro 2020. Hundreds of millions of fans enjoy travelling to one country to bond with other fans and be a part of the rare experience that is the international football tournament. The idea of discovering another culture is a very interesting concept that will not be present at his very tournament.
Many stadia have already been presented as potential candidates be it the Hrazdan stadium in Yerevan, Armenia, or Wembley in London.
After FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed that Euro 2020 would “lack heart and soul,” UEFA president Michel Platini defended the new hosting method, stating: “A European Championship of nations will never have been better named as for the first time it will be played across the entire European continent.”
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