UEFA EURO 2020

 

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as 2020 UEFA European Championship, UEFA Euro 2020, or simply Euro 2020, is the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The tournament, being held in 11 cities in 11 UEFA countries, was originally scheduled from 12 June to 12 July 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and rescheduled for 11 June to 11 July 2021. It retains the name “UEFA Euro 2020”. Portugal are the defending champions, having won the 2016 competition in France, and the video assistant referee (VAR) system makes its debut at the European Championship in this tournament.

UEFA President Michel Platini said in 2012 that the tournament was to be hosted in several nations as a “romantic” one-off event to celebrate the 60th “birthday” of the European Championship competition. Having the largest capacity of any of the stadiums entered for the competition, Wembley Stadium in London is scheduled to host the semi-finals and final for the second time, having done so before at the 1996 tournament in the stadium’s former incarnation. The Stadio Olimpico in Rome was chosen to host the opening game, involving Turkey and hosts Italy. Originally to be played at 13 venues, two hosts were later removed: Brussels in December 2017 due to the abandonment of building the Eurostadium, and Dublin in April 2021 as there was no guarantee that spectators could attend. Spain also changed their host city from Bilbao to Seville to allow an audience at matches.

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe triggered concerns regarding its potential impact on players, staff, and visitors to the twelve host cities of the tournament. At the UEFA Congress in early March, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said the organisation was confident that the situation could be dealt with, while general secretary Theodore Theodoridis stated that UEFA was maintaining contact with the World Health Organization and national governments regarding the coronavirus. The impact on football grew later that month, as numerous domestic and UEFA competition matches began taking place behind closed doors. By 13 March 2020, upcoming UEFA competition fixtures were postponed, while major European leagues were suspended, including the Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

UEFA held a videoconference on 17 March 2020 with representatives of its 55 member associations, along with a FIFPro representative and the boards of the European Club Association and European Leagues, to discuss the response to the outbreak for domestic and European competitions, including Euro 2020. At the meeting, UEFA announced that the tournament would be postponed to the following year, proposing that it take place from 11 June to 11 July 2021. The postponement allowed for pressure to be reduced on the public services in affected countries, while also providing space in the calendar for domestic European leagues that had been suspended to complete their seasons. On the following day, the Bureau of the FIFA Council approved the date change in the FIFA International Match Calendar. As a result, the expanded FIFA Club World Cup, due to take place in June and July 2021, was postponed. On 23 April 2020, UEFA confirmed that the tournament would still be known as UEFA Euro 2020.

 

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