Maybe it was a good thing to go against the grain and do it a little differently. Although maybe there is nothing wrong with a Uefa organised tournament other than the governing body itself.
Uefa president Michel Platini says the European Championships to be held in 2020 will be a “Euros for Europe” and a “party for the continent.” How nice of him to invite the whole of Europe to his party. Remember, this is a governing body who fill Champions League finals with corporate figures by the thousands and then look to bring in the fans, if there’s space. What a disingenuous remark by someone who has never shown any real concern for the everyday supporter.
With Euro 2020 being held in a number of cities across the continent, the view has simply been that the current economic climate will weigh too heavily one host nation, or even a duo like the most recent tournament held by Poland and Ukraine.
Platini and Fifa’s Sepp Blatter have stood behind the idea that football needs to be taken around the world and away from traditional countries, giving less developed nations the opportunity to use football as a foundation to build. That’s fair enough, but doesn’t the latest decision just fly in the face of that concept?
Uefa’s decision, arguably, is more baffling than Fifa awarding the 2022 World Cup to the blistering deserts of Qatar, with many even unsure when in the year the competition will take place. The revenue streams from this 2020 master plan should go through the roof, but where is the concern for the fans?
For example, travelling from London to Donetsk and then back to Madrid will take it out of most supporters, while even maximum distances between stadiums at the 2012 Euros almost reached 1000 miles. At this stage, the sensible plan—with the economy in it’s current state—should be to decrease the span of a tournament.
But on the whole, there is no need for Uefa to come in with these progressive ideas. The infrastructure in countries such as Germany, England, Spain and Holland offers much in the way of ready-made tournament venues. Quite simply, if a country doesn’t have the means to prepare itself for a competition of this size, just don’t give it to them.
Fortunately, Uefa’s proposal is said to be a one-off. Never before has a tournament been held across an entire contitnent, and since the inception of the World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay, there has been no need to.
The worry, however, will be if the 2020 Euros is a success, prompting Uefa to reintroduce the concept somewhere else down the road. It takes away from the atmosphere created in one country, while also stripping the competition of it’s identity.
Platini has described this idea as one he feels “passionately” about. Making the summer event a much grander spectacle by spreading it across Europe is one way to look at it. However, there could be darker motives behind all this. Money for starters, but Platini will certainly use this to his advantage in his drive to be the next president of Fifa.