KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is hopeful that thousands of fans, after all, will be attending the matches in the postponed Euro 2020 finals next summer.
Ceferin, whose federation has excelled in maintaining international club and country competition despite the chaos prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, was speaking to a German broadcaster.
The finals are due to be staged in 12 separate venues across Europe from Saint-Petersburg in the north to Rome in the south, from Bilbao in the west to Baku in the east. Kickoff is in Rome on June 11 with the final at Wembley on July 11.
That complex, eco-unfriendly event was an unloved legacy which Ceferin inherited when he succeeded banned and disgraced Michel Platini in charge of the European game in 2016.
But he knows it is what it is.
Ceferin said: “For the moment, we are planning the Euro exactly as we want.
“If you had asked me in February if I was ready to face a pandemic that brings the world to a halt, I would have taken you for a fool but now we are well prepared.
“We are smarter and stronger than last year, because we know anything can happen. We could do different things. We are thinking about solutions without fans, or with 30pc, 50pc, 70pc capacity. In theory, we could organize the Euro in 12, 11, 10 three countries or even just one. We can do it, if we want to.”
Platini ‘sold’ the idea to his executive committee back in 2012 as a worthy manner in which to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first finals of the European Championship.
Ceferin is not a fan.
He said: “Symbolically, it is very pretty, but for us it is not easy, regardless of the pandemic. We are not very happy [...] it is a big challenge, but I am sure that the Euro will take place next year [but] I don’t think I would support this idea again.”