UEFA to retain 12 host cities for the rescheduled EURO 2020

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. Earlier this week, the European football’s governing body, UEFA ruled out the reports of cutting the multi-country format and currently in talks of retaining the original one.

Matches were due to be played in London, Baku, Munich, Rome, Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin and Glasgow. Following the global emergency, there were concerns that host cities may not want to stage matches. However, UEFA has confirmed its intention to use the same 12 host cities for the event next year but has yet to confirm a schedule for matches.

“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.”

The governing body has given priority for associations to complete domestic competitions, while a special working group has been established to examine a proposed outcome for this season’s Champions League and Europa League competitions. Previously, UEFA has announced that “all national team matches for men and women due to be played in June 2020 are postponed until further notice”.

As of now, all domestic leagues are halted and there is no date set for them to resume, given the uncontainable spread of the virus across Europe. At the time of writing, Spain holds the second most number of infected in the region, with over 160,000 reported cases and nearly 17,000 deaths. Meanwhile, Italy, France, Germany and UK followed Spain in this equation. 

Despite being the worst-hit country – Italy and Spain – in Rome and Bilbao remained committed in hosting the games. Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) are confident Bilbao will be able to host the four games it is scheduled to with RFEF spokesperson Pablo Garcia Cuervo told a news agency, “It is no problem for us to play in Bilbao in 2021.”

“We think next year people will be able to go into the stadiums like they did two months ago. Next year we think will be better and we will be able to play the matches in Bilbao. Of course, to play this year would have been impossible but next year, it is not a problem or any trouble. I don’t think Rome would have any problems either, and Bilbao is the same,” Garcia added.

Rome, on the other hand, also confirmed its inclusion as a host next year despite its postponement amid the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesman confirmed that Rome’s Stadio Olimpicoshould still hold the opening fixture of the European Championship. Italy are set to play all their group games at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, including the tournament’s opening fixture against Turkey.

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.