UEFA PRESIDENT MICHEL Platini on Saturday suggested that the 2020 edition of the European Championships may be held across Europe, instead of in one or two host countries in what will be its 60th anniversary.
“It’s an idea,” Platini told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. “There’s nothing definitive. In December or January, we will decide whether we will take a bid for one country or two or all of Europe.”
The former France international indicated that the 60th anniversary of the tournament in eight years’ time could involve “12 or 13 cities across Europe”, making organisation easier and alleviating cost and infrastructure problems.
Platini said that UEFA’s executive committee, which met in Kiev on Saturday, had given a mandate to look into the proposal.
“There will be meetings with national federations and the decisions will be taken in December or January,” he said on the eve of the Euro 2012 final between holders Spain and Italy.
“It (the tournament in 2020) will mark the 60th anniversary of the Euro. It could take place in 12 to 13 cities across Europe. I like the idea enormously and the vast majority of the executive committee found that it was a very good idea.
“Why should one or two host countries be obliged to build 10 stadiums, airports, etc.? Here, there’ll be one stadium per country, per city, across Europe. It would be a lot simpler and cheaper.”
Platini rejected suggestions that a competition across the continent would be prohibitively expensive for fans.
“There are low-cost companies,” he told reporters, indicating that it could even be cheaper for supporters who have travelled between host cities in Poland and Ukraine and from outside over the last three weeks of competition.
Euro 2016 will take place in France, with the number of teams increasing from the current 16 to 24 for the first time.
With 53 national federations members of UEFA, that means that nearly half of all members will take part in the group stages of the finals, virtually guaranteeing the presence of all the major footballing nations on the continent.
For 2020, Turkey have already expressed their formal interest in hosting, although their bid is dependent on the outcome of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision on the summer Olympics that year.
Istanbul is one of the bid cities but IOC head Jacques Rogge has already said it is against the organisation’s rules for one country to have two major sporting events in the same year.
It has also been reported that the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales will submit a joint bid, as well as one from Georgia and Azerbaijan.
A decision on the 2020 tournament is scheduled to be made at the start of 2014, unless there is support for Platini’s “Europe-wide” Euro, while the announcement for the host city of the 2020 Olympics will be made in September next year.