Could the idea of a multi-venue Euro 2020 actually work realistically?
The announcement earlier this month that it is planned for Euro 2020 to be spread around 13 different European cities has faced much protest from fans.
A survey by fan organisation Football Supporters Europe found that 82 per cent of fans asked rejected the plan. Many, understandably, are worried about the cost of flying around Europe if they want to go to several games.
So, can the idea of having the competition spread across different cities work? Or could it turn out to be a big disaster?
A concern that has been brought up about the idea is if staging the matches in different cities around Europe could mean that it may lack the character of other normal competitions.
Could it be said that not having the competition in one or two specified countries might wreck the atmosphere of the competition? For example, what would the London 2012 Olympics have been like if it had been held in 13 different cities? One of its great successes was the enthusiasm of people in this country who were excited to have the Olympics being held in London.
Additionally, it seemed that those in Poland and Ukraine during Euro 2012 were excited to have the competition. Could it be said that one of the beauties of this kind of competition is looking at a particular country or two in greater focus, the culture of the host country or countries and learning more about them?
Is it also a risk that less people may come to some group games? A worry has been put across already that increasing the number of qualified countries from 16 to 24, a change which comes in from 2016, may decrease quality of play.
Some football fans may want to go to as many games as possible, but it is not hugely possible for all these fans to go to all the games they would want to attend. Some fans may usually go to all of the group matches their home team are playing in, but would people do this if they were all in different countries? And if fewer fans go to some games than in previous competitions, can UEFA be sure that local people where the venues are will suddenly go to matches which they do not have a direct interest in? It could be said that the atmosphere of the competition could be damaged if fewer fans attend matches.
The idea could also pose problems for sponsors; however it could give them more exposure commercially. Additionally, it could cause problems for broadcasters, who would need to organise coverage around the number of locations.
However, it could be said that having matches in various locations around Europe would reduce the financial cost of having one host country, if those organising the venues had to build new stadiums and airports, with some European countries suffering financial difficulties. UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said: “It will be a lot easier from a financial perspective for all the countries … the fact that the Euro moves to 24 teams bears additional burdens on the host nations, the requirements are becoming bigger and bigger.”
However, could it also be said that maybe a better option in the circumstances would be to give it to a country that can provide the right finances to host such a competition.
Although potentially one advantage of the arrangement is that one of the host cities could be in a country that does not usually get to have a competition like this. Additionally, could it be said that an element of excitement does exist around the idea of having different European locations?
Michel Platini has said that UEFA has had contact with fan groups over concerns. However, we will have to wait to find out whether the idea turns out to be successful.