Recently, UEFA confirmed that the European Championships in 2020 will be hosted in 13 different cities across the continent in a one-off tournament. The competition will celebrate the 60th¬†anniversary of the first ever Euro Nations Cup.
The first of its kind for a high profile football tournament, the idea UEFA have come up with will see 12 cities bid to host one¬†knockout¬†round and three group stage games each, and one city be the venue for both semifinals and the final of Euro 2020.
Recent European events have been held by joint countries such as Holland and Belgium, and Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012, but never over multiple countries and extended travelling distances.
There have been many doubts about the idea that UEFA have come up with, and it has certainly caused controversy as well as many talking points and doubts to its suitability in this format. Cities wishing to be one of 13 hosts will have until September 2013 to submit their bids and a decision will be made on the chosen countries in September 2014.
In the rough guidelines that UEFA issued regarding the multi-city tournament, there would only be one venue per country, such as London‚Äôs venue Wembley Stadium and Spain‚Äôs Camp Nou. The country and venue nominated for the semifinals and final will be the 13th city. In further change for the 2020 tournament, the host countries will not automatically qualify as has been the case in the past, however, the countries that host and qualify will be given two home matches in their group.
Here are the official¬†guidelines¬†for the newly-designed Euro Cup in 2020:
- The matches will be split into 13 different packages, with 12 ordinary packages including three group matches and one knockout round (round of 16 or quarter-final), and one package for the semi-finals and the final;
- There will only be a maximum of one venue per country, meaning one stadium for each of the available 13 packages. Both semi-finals and the final will be played in one stadium; and
- Each association will be allowed to present up to two bids, one for the ordinary package and one for the semi-finals/final package. Each national association can decide to present the same city for these two bids or two different cities.
Countries rumored to be favorited to host the final are England, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Scotland, whilst Dublin, Cardiff, Glasgow, Milan, Sofia, Brussels, and Lisbon are¬†among¬†those who are reportedly expressing an interest in hosting the group games.¬†Istanbul,¬†in Turkey, has been mentioned by UEFA President Michel Platini as a strong contender to host the semifinal and final, but much would depend on their bid for the Olympic Games the same year.
The Euro Cup in 2016 will be held in France, and will also be the first tournament to increase the number of participating countries from 16 teams to 24.
As much as the 2020 tournament format has caused controversy, some countries, providing they win their bids, will welcome this with open arms. It will be their chance to host international football in a tournament fashion, something never¬†attempted¬†before, and in the current financial climate, it maybe their only chance.
This is the timeline approved by the UEFA Executive Committee for the bidding process:
- ¬†28 March 2013: Approval of the bidding requirements and bid regulations
- April 2013: Publication of the bid requirements and launch of the bidding phase
- September 2013: Formal confirmation of their bid by the candidates
- April/May 2014: Submission of bid dossiers and start of the evaluation phase
- September 2014: Appointment of the host cities by the UEFA Executive Committee
It will certainly be an interesting spectacle that may have successes and failures. The worry I would have is of a disjointed tournament with teams not having a set base and training camp for long enough periods of time, however, most top European league teams use airplanes now as modes of transport within their own countries. Teams involved in European competitions are also used to travelling for away games. The biggest test may come of players who will have to get used to staying in different hotels for short periods of time, which could¬†ultimately¬†affect the results and even who lifts the Euro 2020 crown in the end.