Dec 6, 2012, 3:49 PM EDT
And the host nation for Euro 2020 is … nobody. And everybody, conceivably.
We still won’t know for potentially a year and a half which cities will host matches in the newly announced pan-Europe championship. All we know is the practice of awarding the tournament to a host nation (or nations) will be done away with for at least one tournament.
UEFA confirmed the executive committee’s Thursday decision:
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told a press conference after the meeting: “Some important decisions have been taken.
“UEFA Euro 2020 will be staged across the continent, in various major cities, following a decision taken today. A Euro for Europe follows an initial idea by UEFA president Michel Platini. The response has been extremely positive from all the national associations.”
The news met with the typical winging and moaning from social media, but what do you expect? No decision is ever a good one, yet the games always managed to get played. Funny that.
Cities can start bidding for hosting rights in March 2013, with decisions to be announced a year later. Other format and venue fun is still to be determined, though you won’t be surprised to learn England’s Football Association has already suggested Wembley Stadium host the final.
Until we get more details (two years from now), it’s hard to get too upset or happy about anything. If the tournament decides to stage every match in a different city, that would be a bit insane (particularly given the competition will have 24 teams starting in 2016). But for all we know, we could get six sub-regions for group stage (allowing teams to have steady camps during the opening round) before the real travel begins for the knockout round.
The big benefit to this type of format: Smaller nations with little change of hosting the tournament can not get games without creating an alliance with another country in the hopes of winning hosting rights. Now we might get matches in places like Stockholm, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Bucharest, and Prague.
Which doesn’t sound that bad.
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