Sport et Citoyenneté

Michel Platini, the president of football’s European governing body, has suggested that UEFA Euro 2020 could be hosted in 12 or 13 cities across Europe rather than being staged in one or two countries.

Platini made the announcement at a news conference on Saturday as UEFA seeks to tackle the issue of a shortage of interest in staging Euro 2020. UEFA in May announced details of a new bidding process for Euro 2020 after receiving a lukewarm response from countries following the initial deadline for expressions of interest, which closed on May 15. UEFA unveiled a new process which will allow any of its 53 member associations to submit a bid.

Turkey has long stated its intention to bid for Euro 2020, while Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland confirmed their interest in exploring a joint proposal and Azerbaijan and Georgia are keen on lodging a joint bid. The European Championships will expand from its current 16 teams to 24 in time for France’s hosting of Euro 2016. However, questions remain over Turkey’s Euro 2020 proposal, which is UEFA’s most solid offer to date, with regard to how it would tie in with Istanbul’s bid to stage the Olympic Games in the same year.

The expansion of the Championships presents additional logistical challenges to potential host countries, a subject Platini seemed to acknowledge on Saturday. “Euro 2020 could be held all over Europe,” he said. “You could have one country with 12 host cities, or we could have it in 12 or 13 cities all over Europe. This is just an idea, but in these days of cheap air travel anything is possible. The majority of the executive committee believe it’s a good idea and say we should have a really good think about this. We will have meetings with all of our national federations coming up to December and in December or January we are going to make a decision.

Regardless of any potential switch in strategy, UEFA said the deadline for Euro 2020 bids is September 2013, ahead of a decision being made in May 2014. Platini added: “It’s an idea I feel really passionate about and will be a lot easier from a financial perspective for all the countries. As opposed to building airports or 10 stadiums in a country, this would be rather easy because it would be one stadium per host city. That’s all we can say at the moment. We have not decided anything yet, but by January we will decide if we are going to have the Euros in one country or all over Europe.”

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