Earlier this month, the European football’s governing body, UEFA ruled out the reports of cutting the multi-country formatand currently in talks of retaining the original one. The rescheduled 32-team European Championship, in celebration of the governing body’s 60th anniversary, was due to be taking place between June 12 and July 12 in countries all across the continent.
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).
“The UEFA EURO 2020 is foreseen to take place between 11 June and 11 July 2021 with the intention of having the same match schedule and the same host cities,” said a UEFA spokesperson told a news outlet. “However, at this stage, the match schedule has not been officially confirmed. UEFA is in contact with all 12 host cities on the matter and further announcements will be made in due course.”
Despite being the worst-hit country – Italy and Spain – in Rome and Bilbao remained committed in hosting the games. Anotherhosting city that did not refuse to halt their hosting commitment is Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg. The over 62,300-seat capacity stadium built football arena in St. Petersburg will stage matches in the tournament.
“The Government of St. Petersburg does not intend to refuse participation in the matches of the final tournament of the European championship on football next year. Our city has a high degree of readiness for the tournament and, of course, interested in its implementation,” said TASS Vice-Governor Vladimir Kirillov. It will also host the final match of the Champions League that was also postponed indefinitely.
Deputy Kirillov also stressed that they are “not planning to increase budget spending in light of the UEFA Euro football championship postponement to 2021”. The coronavirus pandemic that infected more than 2 million people and killed nearly 140,000 worldwide have crippled major sporting events. At the time of writing, Russia nearly 28,000 reported cases and more than 200 deaths.
“Thanks to the fact that UEFA decided to reschedule the European championship in advance, preparations activities which were supposed to be implemented exclusively during the time the tournament is held were suspended. This also made it possible for us to avoid any budget expenses,” Kirillov added.Russia’s St. Petersburg will host three group-stage matches and a quarterfinal.
The deputy official also pointed out that the city acquiredinfrastructure from previous sports events and, therefore, the preparations won’t require “any enormous budgetary injections”. “The full infrastructural preparedness of the city allowed us to do without long-term projects linked toconstruction of new facilities,” he said.
Last month, UEFA announced that their largest European Championship men’s soccer tournament was called off and will resume after a year due to the threat of global pandemic, COVID, which is currently crippling European countries. The EURO 2020 will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021. This move also helps domestic leagues complete their season according to the body.