Tinkerman Platini says Euro 2020 could have multiple hosts across the continent
12:06 GMT, 30 June 2012
UEFA president Michel Platini has dropped a bombshell by claiming Euro 2020 could be held in up to 32 cities across Europe.
Turkey had been favourites to host the event but doubt has been placed over their ability to stage the event due to their ongoing bid for Istanbul to host the Olympic Games in the same year.
It would be impractical to host both, so UEFA are having to look at alternatives.
Radical idea: Michel Platini (centre) has announced plans to overhaul the European Championships
Platini insists there are other
options – a joint bid between Scotland, Wales and the Republic of
Ireland has been mentioned – but the controversial Frenchman has raised
the potential for a far more radical solution.
'The Euros in 2020 could be held all over Europe,' said Platini.
'We are just thinking about it. I have said 12 or 13 host cities, it could be 24 or 32.'
The reasoning behind what seems, on
the face of it, to be a rather bizarre plan, is to save the cost
involved of building stadiums and airports.
However, unless the 'tournament' was
going to be played in cities already used to holding big matches, that
expense would still be required.
The details are very sketchy. However, speaking in Kiev, Platini seems enthused by the prospect.
'It is a great debate,' he said.
'It would be four games per venue and everyone has the possibility to host it.'
New idea: The concept of one or two hosts could be a thing of the past
The logistical issue of supporters
travelling to random venues all over Europe did not seem to be a problem
in Platini's mind, even if the example he used had very little to do
with the present tournament, being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
'It is easier to go from London to Paris or Berlin than Cardiff to Gdansk,' he said.
'Turkey going for the Olympics creates
a problem for us and we are not going to wait until we know whether
they are going to get them.'
Quite how much support Platini's plan
would have is difficult to gauge at this stage. However, he vowed a
final decision would be taken in 'January or February'.
Shaking it up: Platini is certainly not one to settle for the status quo
'The political decision needs to be made,' he said.
'We wouldn't have to build stadiums or
airports. That could be important in an economic crisis. This matter
will be discussed very seriously.'
Benitez sees the positives
Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has backed Platini's suggestion.
'My experience when you talk about finals is it's a mess,' said the Spaniard
'When you play in a city and you have all the fans or like with the semi-finals you have a lot of teams in one or two cities, it's a mess so the idea to play in different cities I think it could be good.
'Maybe it's a good option for the future, in terms of having more facilities and it will be easier for the fans also to go to one place or the other.'
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Over the line: UEFA officials missed Marko Devic's 'goal' against England
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said the controversial additional referees behind the goal would remain and also cited Ukraine's effort against England as the only error.
'There was full support for the system of additional referees to continue,' he said.
'The experiment has been extremely positive. In over a thousand matches, there has been one mistake.'
Infantino revealed that the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will host the UEFA Super Cup in August 2014, with Tblisi in Georgia playing host in 2015.