European Championships: UEFA Members Backing Multi-Nation Hosting of Euro 2020

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European Championships: UEFA Members Backing Multi-Nation Hosting of Euro 2020
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In the build-up to the 2000 European Championships, UEFA (the governing body of European football) revolutionized international football tournaments by allowing Belgium and the Netherlands to co-host the proceedings.

Up until that point, co-hosts had been almost unheard of in major tournaments, with almost every competition having just one host.

Since, there have been three European championships, two Africa Cup of Nations, an AFC Asian Cup, a Gold Cup and even a World Cup that have been successfully hosted by more than one nation.

Now, UEFA looks to be on the path to breaking even more ground.

Ahead of an executive committee meeting Thursday, UEFA officials have voiced their support of a multi-nation hosting system for Euro 2020.

The idea, proposed by UEFA head Michel Platini during this past summer's Euro 2012 (which, incidentally, was co-hosted by Poland and the Ukraine), is to have the matches played in as many as 13 cities across the continent.

It could work like this: Seeded teams would host their respective groups and round of 16 matches, the quarter-finals and semi-finals would be played at a neutral site and the final would be held at a pre-determined location.

Interest in hosting had already been expressed by Turkey as lone hosts, Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Wales as co-hosts and Georgia and Azerbaijan as co-hosts, but officials from these nations have even shown their support of Platini's idea for a continent-wide tournament.

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Georgia soccer president Domenti Sichinava backed the "big project," while Scotland's SFA president Campbell Ogilvie said that either co-hosting with Ireland and Wales or with the whole continent "gives an opportunity for both Scotland and Glasgow."

Support also comes from some of the bigger footballing nations, as German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach said "that UEFA should do it as an exception on the occasion of celebrating the 60th birthday of the European Championship," while Netherlands official Harry Been said that his country "feel[s] that a lot of small countries should have a chance" to help host the tournament.

If the 53 participating nations of Europe can come to an agreement on the process, this could be a very interesting development in major tournaments.

 

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