Platini Proposes That Euro 2020 Be Played In Cities Across Continent
UEFA President Michel Platini has proposed the idea of Euro 2020 organized not in one or two countries but in "12 or 13 cities throughout Europe," according to the AFP. Platini said, "The idea really pleases me, and the majority of the executive committee thought it was a very good idea. Why force one or two host countries to build 10 new stadiums and airports? Here, there would be one stadium per country, per city, throughout Europe, it would be a lot simpler and less expensive. It is an idea, nothing decisive as of now." UEFA has until Dec. '12 or Jan. '13 to make a decision that could be a "revolution for the 60-year existence of the European Championships" (AFP, 6/30). In London, Henry Winter reported that increasing the number of host cities, and the number of nations participating in the tournament has obvious flaws, "from diminishing the cultural identity of the tournament, to damaging the quality of the football with so many teams and whether the 12 host nations would have to qualify." Platini's plan had a mixed greeting from England supporters. Englandfans member Mark Perryman said, "It's not quite as barmy as it sounds. Platini is right in that London to Berlin is less than Krakow to Donetsk. But I think there is something special about a country hosting a tournament. Ukraine have just proved that" (TELEGRAPH, 6/30).
FINANCIAL DEMANDS: Also in London, Dominic Fifield reported that the financial demands on future hosts will increase with the format to rise from 16 to 24 teams from the finals in France in '16. Platini, when asked about potential costs to supporters if the tournament became pan-European, raised eyebrows when he said "there are low-cost airlines." Platini added, "The tournament could either be in one country with 12 stadiums, or one stadium in 12 or 13 cities, with each venue getting four games. We have talked about 12 to 13 host cities because it could be a tournament of 24 to 32 nations. In these days of cheap air travel, anything is possible. It is easier to go from London to Paris or Berlin than Cardiff to Gdansk" (GUARDIAN, 6/30).
OVERREACTION: The London INDEPENDENT's Sam Wallace reported that the concept appears to be a reaction to the mess that has been made of the original idea for Euro 2020, which was to hold the tournament in Turkey. However, when Istanbul became one of the three candidate cities for the 2020 Olympics, UEFA realized that "the nation could not stage both events." Platini said, "It's a problem to wait for a decision from the IOC." The UEFA president argued that it would still roughly be four games per city even with the new format of 51 games that does not include any potential plans for a third and fourth place play-off (INDEPENDENT, 7/1). The BBC's Phil McNulty reported that Euro 2012 was "a success on the pitch, but there have been logistical problems for supporters getting around" Poland and the Ukraine. There have been empty seats at high-profile matches. Spreading the "tournament around so thinly around so many venues would hardly help." Platini said that it would help "infrastructure costs and circumnavigate the need to build new stadium or improve airports" (BBC, 6/30).
NO TECHNOLOGY: Meanwhile, the BBC also reported that Platini has repeated his opposition to goal-line technology. He said, "I'm against technology." Platini had previously stated that its introduction would lead to "Playstation football" (BBC, 6/30).