Euro 2020 dilemma for UEFA
Published: 18.07.12 / Written by: David Gold
Now Euro 2012 is over, reviews will be written of one of the best tournaments in recent memory.
It was certainly a tournament that will be remembered as one of the best, but there are fears that the 2016 version wonít quite live up to it.
That is because there will be 24 teams taking part for the first time. That means in turn that there are likely to be fewer groups of death, or at least weaker groups of death. That in turn will result in fewer gladiatorial contests of the opening round. There will be no repeat of Germany v Portugal, France v England and Spain v Italy in the first week again, bar some kind of freakish statistical occurrence.
There are other issues though, that 24 teams have caused. It means that the race to host Euro 2020 is wide open, but has caused UEFA much head scratching. Officially, Turkey are leading the race to host the event, having declared their candidacy. Wales, Republic of Ireland and Scotland have also expressed an interest in staging the event, as have Georgia, possibly with Azerbaijan.
The only realistic possibility right now is the Turkish bid, but that has one huge problem. The Olympic Games. Istanbul is bidding to bring that event to Turkey, and if they are successful, as seems probable, then they would probably withdraw their candidacy for the Euros.
If that were to happen, UEFA have a dilemma, which they have been pre-empting. First they continued the expressions of interest period beyond when it was meant to be over. Then this weekend Michel Platini said Euro 2020 could be held in up to 12 or 13 countries, a Europe wide Euros.
It is a novel idea. But it is also a reflection of a problem. Who else, if not Turkey, will stage the event? With 24 teams, it needs to be a country with the infrastructure and stadiums to cope. As well as the money. That rules out the smaller nations on their own. Then of the bigger nations, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal lack the money. France are hosting 2016. Russia are 2018 World Cup hosts. Germany donít want it. Then there is England. England in theory, could do it. They could afford it and have the stadiums and infrastructure already. It would placate missing out on the 2018 World Cup to some extent, though not a huge amount. But then, England would need to do some work to repair political relationships for that to happen. If not, the Czechs, possibly the next biggest country who could do it, have their eyes on staging Euro 2015ís under 21 tournament.
It is one almighty problem for UEFA, trying to find a host for a tournament in eight yearsí time that no one really wants.