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).
Lawyers have revealed that the Asian Tour "could face further legal proceedings from disgruntled golfers in the wake of losing a restraint of trade case last week brought by four players," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. A Singapore High Court judge ruled the Asian Tour's policy to fine members $5,000, later increased to $10,000, if they competed on the OneAsia Tour was "unfair" and also said that they had been guilty of "sloppy administration." Judge Judith Prakash said that the Asian Tour "must pay back the fines to Australians Terry Pilkadaris and Matthew Griffin, Dutchman Guido van der Valk and Malaysian Anis Helmi Hassan and cover all legal fees, which sources say amount to around S$500,000 ($410,200)." The Asian Tour has remained silent since, but legal experts have said that the ruling in favor of the four players, who did not seek damages, "opens up possible avenues for others to make a loss of earnings claim." Singapore-based lawyer Brown Pereira said, "They have to show a direct link between their loss of income and the prohibitive clauses on the Asian Tour. If they can show a link that they were denied playing in these tournaments because the prohibition of the Asian Tour clauses then they have a case" (REUTERS, 12/6).
New Zealand's "underachieving" national cricket side is grim news for its governing body, not only on the park but off it, according to the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Two prominent branding and communications experts believe that New Zealand Cricket's brand "is in poor shape." Mitchener Gillman Communications' partner Martin Gillman said, "If it is becoming increasingly a big stretch to put your weight behind them, so the audience is down. That means TV companies who pay for rights to broadcast games won't attract as much advertising revenue, therefore the value to TV companies is less, and they'll pay less." Gillman also talked of the importance of sport to national identity. Gillman: "The All Blacks have enormous value to New Zealand Inc., but the Black Caps don't." Auckland Institute of Technology Advertising, Marketing & Communications senior lecturer Dave Bibby reckons NZC has "big problems." He said, "I would say, yes, it is in a parlous state. Perceptions are negative. All brands have to perform a function. If they don't do it very well, then people will give it away." Bibby contrasts the All Blacks and the cricketers when discussing the role of sponsors. Bottom line is that "they want to be associated with winners." Bibby: "Perceptions are the reality. The idea of sponsorship is you support a team so you can connect with the fans of that team (NZ HERALD, 12/4).
The indefinite suspension of Indonesian football from int'l tournaments "is now beckoning," with FIFA "sounding its impatience with Indonesia’s rift-ridden" football leagues, according to Mustaqim Adamrah of the JAKARTA POST. The governing body said that it will "likely impose sanctions" on Indonesian football "following an unresolved spat" between two rivaling football organizations. In a letter sent to Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said the current situation "has come to the point where conflicts between the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) and the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) have gotten out of hand, and a joint committee consisting of representatives from both parties has made no significant progress." The joint committee has been given until Monday "to resolve the key issues concerning the presence" of two football federations, two football leagues and the PSSI statutes. Valcke also said in the letter: "Unfortunately yet again, it seems that the set objectives will not be reached and we, therefore, anticipate that the PSSI will be sanctioned" (JAKARTA POST, 12/5). In Jakarta, Ami Afriatni noted after a meeting with the minister, PSSI Chair Djohar Arifin Husin said that he was "astonished that FIFA would impose a sanction on his organization." Djohar added, "The PSSI is an official member of FIFA and we’ve been disturbed by another party outside the PSSI. I hope FIFA can see reality in Indonesia. PSSI didn’t violate a single article in FIFA’s statute, we also gave our full support to the reconciliation process" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 12/5). REUTERS wrote "any suspension would jeopardise Indonesia's participation" in the 2015 Asian Cup qualifying tournament, which begins in February (REUTERS, 12/6).