AIPS / VIGEVANO: Michel Platini’s proposal to spread the 2020 European Championship finals across the continent has prompted mixed reactions within football, among fans and within the media – including members of the AIPS Football Commission.
Chairman Keir Radnedge is in favour of UEFA’s attempt, in challenging economic circunmstances, to progress beyond the unsatisfactory 24-team formula being applied in France in 2016. But not everyone is of the same opinion:
Gabriel Cazenave (Paraguay): It is undoubtedly a revolutionary and viable proposition. The only snag is that the system proposed by Platini removes the dream of countries hosting the finals exclusively or sharing with neighbouring nations.
That pride in hosting a continental event, which encourages investment in infrastructure with valuable revenues for sport and other sectors, would be lost entirely.
The new model would leave a memory legacy of the result – but not the country where it took place. It will not be the same thing.
Vicente Dattoli (Brazil): I do not know where Platini found this idea, but it must be incomprehensible to anyone who loves football.
Hosting a competition such as the European Championship, the World Cup or the Copa America is a magical opportunity for the country concerned.
Spreading it across several countries would lose something of the essence of the event.
Jan-Hermen de Bruijn (Holland): This proposal would lose that very special ‘coming together’ of a big tournament.
I well remember a warm night in Portugal in 2004 when – after a game in Porto – we stopped at a petrol station: fans of about eight different countries had done the same and, at one o’clock in the morning, they started a mini-football tournament. It lasted about an hour and was brilliant.
One can only hope that in 2020 there will be clusters around Europe.
For example one group in Holland, Belgium, Germany. One in France (perhaps excluded after 2016) and Italy, Greece, Turkey, one in Spain, Portugal and one in England and the Scandinavian countries and another one in Eastern Europe.
In this way at least the costs for the fans will not be too high and a little of the tournament atmosphere can be retained.
It would also be one way to bring some tournament-football to countries which, otherwise, would have to wait too long (or are too small) to organize a whole tournament.
A good point is that it would bring down costs. So many good stadia are available across Europe that there would be no need to build new ones.
Mitchell Obi (Nigeria): It would be fascinating to spread the peak of European football across 12 cities – but what a logistical nightmare this could be. For example, would this mean 12 cities in 12 countries?
Michel Platini was an inspiring captain in his playing days but can he prove as successful in leading from the committee room?
If he can get this right, as he did with France 98, the entire dynamic of bidding and hosting such continental championships could change drastically across the globe. Can anyone imagine the Africa Nations Cup in Cairo, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos and Abidjan?
Euro 2020 is eight years away but it risks proving a bridge too far for any realistic football mind.
Ashok Purohit (Muscat, Oman): It’s a revolutionary idea. But how successful it could be is difficult to predict. There are many more issues than ‘only’ the logistical challenges. On the surface, I think that it’s not a bad concept, in particular, for fans.
Wolfgang Winheim (Austria): For a small country like Austria it’s a good idea because hosting the Euro was the only way to obtain our new stadium in Vienna. But for newpapers – hoping we will have some in eight years’ time! – working logistics could be terrible.
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