BERLIN: The postponed European Championship is unlikely to be held across the continent, as planned, and options could be for it to be staged in one country or one major city with enough stadium capacity, Switzerland’s football chief Dominique Blanc said.
The 24-nation, month-long showpiece, a major revenue generator for the continent’s football governing body UEFA and the national federations across Europe, was postponed by 12 months after last year’s COVID-19 outbreak. It is set to start on June 11.
“We should not be dreaming,” Blanc told Switzerland’s 24 Heures newspaper. “In the best case it could be the second half of the year that we could lead a normal life again.”
“At the moment I cannot imagine the (Swiss) national team to be playing in Baku,” he said.
The postponed 2020 edition, brainchild of former UEFA president Michel Platini, was to be the first staged across the continent, rather than by a single nation or joint hosts.
The host cities are Glasgow, Dublin, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg, Bucharest, Budapest and Baku, with the semis and final set for London’s Wembley Stadium.
“One option could be to host the Euro in one country, in Russia or Germany. A second option would be to pick a metropolis with enough stadiums to stage the six groups. London for example,” Blanc said.
UEFA had hoped that a year-long wait would have allowed fans to be present at games but, with most football continuing to be held behind closed doors, that prospect depends on an improvement in the situation.
“No doubt, without fans,” Blanc said. “If it is not staged at all it would be a financial catastrophe. UEFA makes up a big part of SFV (Swiss football federation) revenues.”
UEFA is expected to take a decision on the fate of the tournament in March. – Reuters