UEFA President Michel Platini has announced his plans for the 2020 European Championships. The Frenchman has idealised the possibility of having the tournament in 12 separate cities across Europe instead of the tradition of hosting it in a single or combined countries.
Two years ago, UEFA made the decision to expand the number of teams competing at Euro 2016 in France from 16 to 24 and now the three-time European Footballer of the Year is debating on hosting Euro 2020 in various countries. “The Euros in 2020 could be held all over Europe”, Platini implied. “I have said 12 or 13 host cities; it could be 24 or 32. In these days of cheap air travel anything is possible.” The Frenchman also confirmed that a decision will take place in either January or February of next year. “It’s an idea I feel really passionate about, it will be a lot easier from a financial perspective.
The bidding for Euro 2020 already began earlier this year when Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan and a Celtic themed bid from Ireland, Wales and Scotland all expressed their interest. Turkey had been the early favourites however they have had difficulties over their bid due to the fact they are bidding for the Olympic Games in Istanbul in the same year. The IOC have already made it clear that Turkey cannot host both events.
Can It Work?
The announcement from Platini at his pre-Euro 2012 final media conference in Kiev has surprised all football fans across the world. My first reaction to Platini’s statements was “a purely ridiculous idea”. The European Championships has been played every four years since 1960 in 14 different countries (including joint-hosts) and now Platini has a big plan up his sleeve. You can argue that I’m not ready for change however that is the point in this argument. The words are coming from the man who is against goal-line technology however that is another matter.
On the financial side of things, it could work seeing we’re in the middle of a global recession including the Eurozone especially where many countries have asked for bailouts to keep themselves afloat. On the other hand, it’s very expensive to organise flights from one side of Europe to the other with airlines charging at different prices and they may have to provide extra planes at the same time. A perfect example of this was when England fans were trying to fly out to Kiev for the quarter-final against Italy, where as many as 5,000 fans travelled to the Ukrainian capital.
It’s going to be a big challenge for Platini if the majority of the UEFA family are against the plans, even though with the prospect of various countries hosting the tournament, it could work out in their favour. In his press conference, Platini suggested: “It is easier to go from London to Paris or Berlin than Cardiff to Gdansk. It would be four games per venue.” As we all know, the European club football season is very competitive including the Champions League and Europa League where teams fly all over Europe to compete in their respective tournaments. With regards to Platini’s vision for Euro 2020, I feel it will be very harsh on the players to make them travel in all for corners of Europe just for a tournament that takes place over a four week period. After a very hard season for their clubs, most of the top players will be suffering from fatigue from playing over 50 matches in a season which definitely affects their match fitness as well as the added problem of jet lag.
I can understand the idea of promoting this plan in as most of the continent hasn’t had the opportunity to host a European final, let alone a whole tournament. There are also the various problems such as racism and hooliganism in specific countries which have been talked about before Euro 2012 where unfortunately there has been a few incidents involving racist chanting in the stadiums which the respective FAs have been punished for.
Overall, I just feel that spreading Euro 2020 across Europe won’t work for the reasons that I have mentioned above however with all of us knowing Platini’s ways, it will probably go ahead despite the fact that he will consider the options available. The decision will be made early next year.