The city of Amsterdam is the latest to reconfirm their commitment in hosting the Euro 2020, due earlier this week but pushed back next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, a tough decision was made by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), as the most glorious 24-team European Championship was called-off and will resume after a year.
The venues for the said competition to be staged next year confirmed to be the same. In a statement, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has provided UEFA with all the guarantees associated with organizing the tournament. The Netherlands will therefore be able to play their group matches at home, against Ukraine, Austria and a nation drawn from the play-offs.
“I am happy with the confirmation of the status of playing city for Amsterdam. I never had any doubts about this, but something like that had to be properly arranged with the national government, the municipality of Amsterdam, Schiphol and the Johan Cruijff Arena. That has now happened,” tournament director Gijs de Jong said in a separate statement.
Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam is the centrepiece of the tournament in the city. Matches to be staged in this arena includeNetherlands v Ukraine; Netherlands v Austria; Play-off winner D (A) v Netherlands; Round of 16: 2A v 2B. Previously known as Amsterdam Arena, Johan Cruijff Arena was renamed in 2018 to honour Ajax’s former player and coach, who was born in Amsterdam and passed away in March 2016.
The stadium can hold 54,990 people during football matches, while a maximum of 68,000 people during concerts if a centre-stage setup is used, the largest in the country. The1998 Champions League and 2013 Europa League finals was held in this stadium and it was one of the venues used in Euro 2000. It is currently the home stadium of AFC Ajax in the Eredivisie.
The matches of the 2020 Euro Cup were initially scheduled to be held at stadiums in 12 different cities across Europe, namely in London (England), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), St. Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Glasgow (Scotland) and Copenhagen (Denmark).
Earlier, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin hinted that the number of host cities could be reduced since not all cities signed new contracts. “So we will discuss further, and in principle, we will do it in 12 cities. But if not, we are ready to do it in 10, nine or eight,” Ceferin said. He admitted to having “some issues” with three cities that he did not specify.
Previously, Ireland, Bucharest and Glasgow reiterate their commitment in hosting the tournament, while despite being the worst-hit country – Italy and Spain – in Rome and Bilbao also states their assurance to be part of the hosting cities. Wembley, the centrepiece of the tournament, also confirms its participation in the tournament as host of main events.
Traditionally, the European Championship is being hosted by one country or with co-hosts, but UEFA opted for a multi-city approach in 2014 to celebrate the tournament’s 60th anniversary.Held every four years, Euro is considered the most popular football tournament next to the World Cup in terms of international prestige.