Geneva – London will host the final and semi-finals of the 2020 European football championship, which will exceptionally be held in 13 different countries, UEFA boss Michel Platini announced Friday.
The quarter-finals will meanwhile be hosted by Munich (Germany), Baku (Azerbaijan), Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Rome (Italy), the president of European football’s governing body revealed at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.
London beat its sole rival Munich for the top bid, as observers expected.
Ahead of the vote, top German football officials had hinted they might leave the path free to England if in return London supports its bid to host the tournament in 2024, when it returns to the single-host format.
For the 60th anniversary of the European Championship, first held in 1960, UEFA decided to organise the tournament across the whole continent.
In all 19 countries bid for a chance to host Euro 2020 games.
On top of one quarter-final, Rome, Munich, Baku and St Petersburg will each host three group stage games. Only hosts that had stadia with a capacity of 60,000 were considered.
Copenhagen (Denmark), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium) and Glasgow (Scotland), meanwhile, will each host one last-16 game and three group stage ones.
London, Munich, Rome, Brussels or Glasgow are experienced hosts of major sporting events, having already hosted World Cup, Euro or Champion League games.
But this is the first time cities like Baku, Budapest or Bucharest will host a big tournament.
The stadia in Budapest and Baku for the Euro 2020 are still waiting to be built.
For this jubilee tournament, UEFA said it wanted a “Euro for Europe.”
“This is a historic moment because we’ll be able to bring this competition to all the countries of Europe and especially to countries that would never otherwise have the chance to host such a competition,” Platini said as he announced the winning bids.
In the past, a single country — or at the most two, like Austria and Switzerland in 2008, or Poland and Ukraine in 2012 — hosted the finals.
The experiment, which was Platini’s brainchild, will be a one-off event however, with the 2024 tournament to be hosted again by a single country.
Minsk (Belarus), Sofia (Bulgaria), Cardiff (Wales), Skopje (Macedonia), Jerusalem (Israel) and Stockholm (Sweden) came away empty-handed.
There were also concerns ahead of the vote that Thursday’s referendum on Scottish independence may endanger Glasgow’s bid.
In its evaluation report published in early September, UEFA had noted that “the situation may have to be re-assessed should Scotland become independent of the UK.”
In the end, Scotland voted to remain part of Britain with 55 percent of the vote, and Platini’s announcement that Glasgow would be among the Euro 2020 hosts was greeted with cheers in Geneva. – AFP