A major change to the European Championships has been made official. The Guardian reports UEFA has decided that Euro 2020 will take place in multiple cities throughout the continent, instead of granting host duties to one or two countries.
Uefa confirms Euro 2020 to be staged in various cities across Europe …— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) December 6, 2012
Poland and Ukraine shared hosting duties for 2012 and France has already been chosen as the 2016 host. The event will then shift to the new format for the 2020 tournament.
What isn't immediately clear is how long the new approach will last. A report from the Associated Press quotes German association president Wolfgang Niersbach as saying it's viewed as an exception to celebrate the milestone event.
"This is the general trend around these meetings,'' Niersbach said at UEFA headquarters. "That UEFA should do it as an exception on the occasion of celebrating the 60th birthday of the European Championship.''
On the surface, it's a terrific idea. Giving more countries a chance to get involved in the process of hosting games should help the tournament thrive. It will also help build extra hype for the event in areas that might not have had it otherwise.
The European Championships are already one of the most anticipated international tournaments, but the multiple-city plan should take it to an even higher level in 2020. It will be continent wide, instead of an isolated event.
There are some potential problems, mostly associated with travel issues. UEFA has to come up with a plan that would make it possible for teams and their supporters to travel from location to location in reasonable fashion.
UEFA will have to figure out a way to pick cities in close proximity to work together for the group stage in order to make sure things go off without a hitch. Luckily, the officials have eight years to work out the details.
Since the change will make the tournament even more special, it's worth the risk.