UEFA still planning 12-venue tournament for Euro 2020

Paris (AFP) –


UEFA reiterated its plan Wednesday to stage the delayed European Championship in 12 cities all across the continent despite ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic, but said it recognised the need for flexibility over tournament arrangements.

European football's governing body held a meeting to discuss logistics with representatives from each of the 12 host nations for Euro 2020, postponed from last year and due to run from June 11 to July 11.

"UEFA is committed to holding Euro 2020 in the 12 cities originally planned. The Euro is the flagship competition for national team football in Europe and is a vital source of funding for grassroots and wider football development," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.

"I am optimistic that things are highly likely to be very different with regard to the virus as we move closer to the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as we can to formulate an accurate picture of what will be possible come June and July."

UEFA has pushed back the deadline for submitting plans to accommodate fans inside stadiums to early April.

Four options are on the table regarding supporters, with games across Europe largely being played behind closed doors due to the health situation.

"We are currently working on four operational scenarios for UEFA Euro 2020 (full stadium; 50-100% capacity with various mitigation measures; 20-30% capacity with various mitigation measures; and behind closed doors," a UEFA spokesman said last week.

"Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euro as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums," added Ceferin.

The semi-finals and final are due to be played in London, although England is one of numerous parts of Europe currently in lockdown as the UK grapples with an upsurge in infections related to a new variant of the Covid-19 virus.