UEFA's Euro 2020 plan lauded in cash-strapped continent

Fri Dec 7, 2012 7:09am EST
 

By Tom Pilcher

LONDON (Reuters) - UEFA's decision to host the 2020 European Championship across the continent rather than in one or two host nations has been greeted with enthusiasm as countries battle the crippling financial crisis.

European soccer's governing body announced the move on Thursday, saying it would allow smaller countries a slice of the action as they would not be able to stage an unwieldy, 24-team tournament on their own.

The event is being increased from 16 to 24 teams for the 2016 edition in France and UEFA said the format would help to ease the burden on host nations, although it is a one-off move to celebrate the tournament's 60th anniversary.

European Club Association boss and Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was upbeat about the move given the dire effects of the euro zone financial crisis across the continent.

"At this time of a united Europe, I consider this to be a good decision. At a time of a euro crisis one or two countries should not be forced to invest in infrastructure projects but instead existing structures should be used," he said.

Fernando Gomes, head of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), praised the idea and said he hoped UEFA would take Portugal into consideration for hosting matches given that they already had infrastructure in place after Euro 2004.

"We congratulate them on the idea. In a period of great financial difficulties there is no doubt that this idea is welcome," said Gomes.

"This decision gives Portugal the opportunity to welcome Euro 2020 matches in one city or another or in one stadium or another that we built for Euro 2004. We are sure UEFA recognizes the FPF's capacity to organize big events and I am sure they will take us into consideration."   Continued...