UEFA rubbishes Euro 2020 format change report

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EURO 2020 update November Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has denied reports that it is mulling on moving next summer’s COVID-derailed tournament to Russia and made it clear that it has no plans to change the format of Euro 2020.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several Member-States are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA.

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2020 or simply Euro 2020, is scheduled to be the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by UEFA. It is scheduled to be held from June 11th-July 11th, 2021.

The UEFA has asserted that the pandemic-delayed soccer showpiece will still be held across 12 stadia in 12 different nations on the above mentioned dates.

Media reports recently stated that installing Russia, which hosted the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018, as the only host for the finals was one option being considered by the governing body.

The governing body’s statement read, “UEFA intends to hold Euro 2020 in the format and the venues confirmed earlier this year and we are working closely with all host cities on preparations. Given the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 situation – over which neither UEFA nor the local organizing bodies have control – it is currently too early to say whether those games in June and July will have restrictions either on fans or even their staging.”

“UEFA’s efforts are currently focused on planning for a tournament in all 12 venues with fans. Decisions that run counter to that plan could be made much nearer the time if necessary but there are presently no plans to change any venue.”

The cities due to host the Euro 2020 fixtures are – Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Baku (Azerbaijan), Bilbao (Spain), Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dublin (Ireland), Glasgow (UK), London (UK), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy) and St Petersburg (Russia).

The sporting extravaganza had been scheduled to kick off in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on June 12th this year. London’s Wembley Stadium was to serve as the focal point of Euro 2020, with the final, semi-finals, Round of 16 and group stage games taking place in London.

However, recently it has been reported in the media that Wembley Stadium (London) is in danger of losing the final should fans remain banned from Premier League stadia considering that coronavirus has again hit United Kingdom hard.

In late September, the UK Government halted plans to allow 30 per cent of a venue’s capacity back on October 1st, along with the pilot events program, which had been hosting test events with up to 1,000 spectators.

At the time, Prime Minister of UK Boris Johnson said restrictions are likely to remain in place for the next six months.

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