UEFA has announced that 32 of its member associations met the September 12 deadline to state their interest in hosting games during Euro 2020, which will be staged in 13 cities across the continent.
The vast majority of associations have put forward one city as their contender for Euro 2020 with the exception of Italy (Milan and Rome), Poland (Chorzow and Warsaw), Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), Spain (Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia) and Ukraine (Donetsk and Kyiv). The other proposed host cities are: Armenia (Yerevan), Azerbaijan (Baku), Belarus (Minsk), Belgium (Brussels), Bulgaria (Sofia), Croatia (Zagreb), Czech Republic (Prague), Denmark (Copenhagen), England (London), Finland (Helsinki), France (Lyon), FYR Macedonia (Skopje), Germany (Munich), Greece (Athens), Hungary (Budapest), Israel (Jerusalem), Kazakhstan (Astana), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Ireland (Dublin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (St Petersburg), Scotland (Glasgow), Serbia (Belgrade), Sweden (Solna), Switzerland (Basel), Turkey (Istanbul) and Wales (Cardiff).
The matches will be split into 13 different packages, with 12 standard 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. Each of the 32 associations will be allowed to present up to two bids – one for the standard package and one for the semi-finals/final package. Each national association can decide to present the same city, or two different cities, for these two bids, but there will be a maximum of one venue appointed per country. The candidates have the right to change their initial host city selection, but must submit their final bid dossier by April 25, 2014. The appointment of the host cities by the UEFA Executive Committee will take place on September 25, 2014. UEFA president Michel Platini believes the interest shown by more than half of the members of European football’s governing body justifies its decision to switch from the traditional hosting model for a major national team event. “I think it’s very good news that everyone has welcomed the idea, and that 32 countries want to take part in this great European football festival,” said Platini. “I understand completely, because you give the possibility to a country to take part with one major stadium, instead of having to build eight stadiums to participate, I think this is an important advantage.”
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has applied to host the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at İstanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium. Istanbul lost out in its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games earlier this month and is now considered a strong favourite to land Euro 2020’s showpiece package. The TFF presented the only solid bid for Euro 2020 in its traditional guise, but questions marks surrounded how the proposal would fit in with Istanbul’s tilt at the 2020 Olympics. In February 2012, UEFA was forced to dismiss reports that Platini had promised Turkey it would stage Euro 2020. Turkish media had reported that Platini issued assurances to the TFF that it would succeed with what would be its fourth successive bid for the European Championships. The reports came after France landed Euro 2016 ahead of Turkey in acrimonious circumstances in May 2010. Turkish officials were angered when UEFA’s Executive Committee voted 7-6 in favour of France after Italy’s bid was eliminated in the first round. While Platini didn’t have a vote or take part in the final presentations, Turkey believed he favoured his home country in what was a politicised election process. Platini in January said Turkey was his favoured choice to host the final and both semi-finals of Euro 2020, adding that a Turkish bid would be “out of the question” if Istanbul was chosen as the host of the 2020 Olympics.