Euro 2020 is plowing ahead with 12 host cities … but why

For a brief moment, it looked like logic and wisdom could prevail.

But UEFA, which did the right thing, turned out to be an imaginative idea in the end.

One week ago, Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said so UEFA considered reducing Euro 2020, which was rescheduled for next summer, to just one host country, rather than 12 across the continent.

As Rummenigge put it for the German newspaper Muenchner Merkur / TZ, “This special host of the tournament arose when coronavirus did not exist. “In fact, the idea was to spread wealth across the continent in a bonanza of games. The logistics and pollution from all trips were reason enough to be skeptical. And then a pandemic broke out that was early actively aggravated by football-related travel.

Of course, UEFA would rethink its plans to force teams to skip across the continent – not to mention potential fans – as the pandemic had already pushed the tournament back by a year and is probably not over for the summer. Cutting the euro would make things easier and safer and reduce the burden on players and host cities.

Instead of forcing 11 cities already struggling with a pandemic to host just four games each (London will host seven) and building significant COVID security infrastructure and protocols, reducing the number of cities would free some cities and exploit others. investments better. And there are many European countries that can host the tournament alone, reducing cross-border travel and potential infections.

“I know that UEFA President Alexander Ceferin, who is extremely careful with the corona, is wondering if it would not make more sense in these times to play the tournament in just one country,” said Rummenigge.

On Wednesday, UEFA had a meeting, closed its ears, closed its eyes and shouted “Lalalalala!” over all appeals to make sense.

A worldwide pandemic is still raging.  It is not possible to slow down significantly for several months.  But hey, UEFA has a European Championship to play.  (Photo by Joerg Koch / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)
A worldwide pandemic is still raging. It is not possible to slow down significantly for several months. But hey, UEFA has a European Championship to play. (Photo by Joerg Koch / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

“UEFA reiterates its commitment to hold EURO in the 12 cities according to the timetable already published,” said the board in a statement. “All parties recognize the need for flexibility in decisions to be made about the arrangements for the tournament, to reflect the different challenges and circumstances facing cities.”

But that flexibility did not apply to the introduction of host cities. Rather, it was reserved to determine the number of fans that would fit for the games. A decision on how large a share of capacity would be allowed, ranging from 100 percent to zero, was made in April.

“EURO is the flagship competition for the national team in Europe and is an important source of funding for the grassroots level and broader football development,” Ceferin said in the statement. “I am optimistic that it is very likely that things will be very different with regard to the virus as we approach the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as possible to formulate a correct picture of what will be possible come June and July. ”

What this claim about funding ignores is that the bulk of the money comes from TV contracts, which is not affected by the absence of fans. Then, with most all tickets already sold before the pandemic, UEFA would have to spend a significant amount in refunds.

So not only will UEFA refuse to limit the size of their tournament, but they would like to see if it can get away with honoring some tickets as well, rather than paying them back. Keep in mind that Europe is still a giant COVID hotspot at the moment and that the tournament stretches from Baku to Dublin and from St Petersburg to Bilbao.

UEFA is hiding behind the weak possibility that warmer weather and a critical mass of administered vaccines will save it before June 11 when Turkey and Italy start the tournament in Rome as a cover for what is a naked ruthless plan.

Even without fans, there is no good reason to keep the tournament spread. In fact, if fans are going to be disappointed anyway, there’s all the more reason to scale it down to maybe three cities in close proximity. Or even one. London could handle the tournament on its own. So could the northern half of either Spain or Italy. Or the Ruhr region of Germany. Or several clusters in France.

But that would obviously be too much sense. For UEFA’s top administrators, the hopes of returning to normalcy this summer and to normal revenue streams are above all too tempting. It would rather wait and see a little longer, without thinking about the potential path for these plans.

Because UEFA refuses to be bothered by the pandemic that has ravaged its continent and infected 32 million Europeans and killed 702,000 of them. And counts.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a Yahoo Sports football columnist and a sports communications lecturer at Marist College. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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