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SBD Global/December 7, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

UEFA Agrees To Stage Euro 2020 Across The Continent In 12 Host Cities

Italy's Federico Balzaretti, left, and Spain's David Silva fight for the ball during the Euro 2012 final in July.
UEFA has decided Euro 2020 will be staged in cities across the continent in a "bid to spread the financial burden of staging the tournament," according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. UEFA President Michel Platini "got his wish" to stage finals matches across the continent. Platini revealed at Euro 2012 last summer that "12 or 13 cities across Europe" could stage matches. UEFA said after its exec committee meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland Thursday that it had received an "extremely positive" response from its member national associations as officials look at how to best accommodate a tournament with 24 teams, rather than the 16 which competed at Euro 2012 (LONDON TIMES, 12/6). BLOOMBERG's Tariq Panja noted the change is the "most radical in the Euros' 52-year history." UEFA said that "it made €1.3B ($1.7B) from the most-recent edition of the quadrennial tournament." Turkey’s representative on the 17-member board "was the only official to object to the decision." Turkey has now "failed three straight times to be awarded rights to host Europe’s top national team tournament" (BLOOMBERG, 12/6).

BIDDING GAME:
REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino said that the bidding process for host cities will "start early next year and will take around 12 months." He added that "decisions on the host countries are expected in the spring of '14." Infantino also said that "all the logistical issues would be addressed in the next few months, such as whether groups would be concentrated in one or two venues close to each other or whether they would be spread out across the continent." Infantino said, "If groups are going to be in different countries, then ideally they should not be too far away" (REUTERS, 12/6).

WEMBLEY WAITS: In London, Simon Rice reported the FA has "already put Wembley forward as a potential venue for the latter stages of the tournament and will be hopeful of securing the showpiece matches." Having failed in a bid for the 2022 World Cup and having not staged a major football tournament since Euro '96, the FA is "likely to make a serious push for consideration." FA Chair David Bernstein "met Platini in September during which the change of format was discussed." UEFA is a known fan of England's national stadium. After staging the 2011 Champions League final at the venue, European football's governing body was so impressed it "agreed to stage the final again in '13 in what will be the climax to this season's tournament" (INDEPENDENT, 12/6). In London, Rice also wrote "the race now begins to host the games, with the climax, including the semifinals and final, expected to be staged in one venue." Based on Thursday's rankings, the possible host cities and stadiums would be as follows: (INDEPENDENT, 12/6).
    1. Spain - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
    2. Germany - Olympic Stadium, Berlin
    3. Portugal - Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
    4. Italy - Stadio Olimpico, Rome
    5. England - Wembley Stadium, London
    6. Netherlands - Amsterdam ArenA
    7. Russia - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
    8. Croatia - Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb
    9. Greece - Karaiskakis Stadium, Athens
    10. Switzerland - St. Jakob-Park, Basel
    11. France - Stade de France, Paris
    12. Belgium - Konig Baudouin, Brussels
Also in London, Brian Lee reported Wales and Scotland have also "confirmed they will bid for matches" -- including a possible bid for a final in Glasgow to rival Wembley's -- and Ireland is "also expected to follow suit." FA of Wales CEO Jonathan Ford confirmed that it would "make a bid with the Millennium Stadium -- perhaps as part of a British/Irish hub." Ford said, "This rules us very much in. We now have to see how can this work on a logistical basis. If we are part of a hub including Glasgow, Dublin and an English city this could be very exciting." Wembley "could face competition" from Scotland for the final however, but "it is more likely Glasgow would bid for group games." Scottish FA CEO Stewart Regan said, "We would be interested in the final, but we first have to find out UEFA's minimum criteria for capacity -- if they are looking for stadiums with greater capacity then of course we would be interested in hosting group matches." Celtic Park has the largest capacity in Scotland at just more than 60,000 with Ibrox and Hampden Park also holding more than 50,000 (DAILY MAIL, 12/6).
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