Euro 2012 here we come

The Euro tournament is always a highlight in the footballing calendar. It is the World Cup without Argentina and Brazil, and in theory every game is a tough one, with virtually every one of Europe’s top 16 teams taking part. The 2012 tournament will be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland. Some of the world’s best players are going to be there. From Wayne Rooney to Cristiano Ronaldo and from Wesley Sneijder to Andres Ineista, the on field action should be spectacular. BookiesForSports expects Spain to meet Germany in the final but what if the final is played out before empty stands?

This is what could happen if there isn’t a change in pricing for the visiting fans. When it comes to being a loyal supporter of your national side, you are used to facing a lot of increased costs come tournament-time and not just from extortionate ticketing prices.  Accommodation costs (and lack of availability), as we have seen for this tournament have gone through the roof, and concern has now been raised at the highest level within UEFA. There aren’t going to be too many fans at the tournament if they can’t afford to stay anywhere and don’t have any money left over for tickets. It would be interesting to know how many fans are going to be left holding tickets for games but with nowhere to stay.

Maybe the organisers are trying to recoup as much of their investment in the stadiums and infrastructure as possible, expecting the fans to pay whatever it is but they may find that the fans don’t bite and then they are left giving the tickets away rather than facing the embarrassment of empty stands in front of the TV cameras. The English fans, normally so loyal have not yet snapped up all of the tickets allocated to the FA and the UEFA authorities are starting to worry that many of the matches won’t be sold out, especially as the English are probably the best supported nation in the world.

Michel Platini has spoken out in support of the fans and issues warnings to the authorities in Poland and Ukraine about the dangers of a poorly supported tournament, but he has to. It won’t be a good look for his committee having chosen these two countries as hosts if there is no-one in there stands, the Fan Parks or buying their Big Macs.

Then there are other concerns about the choice of host nations. Football hooliganism may be a thing of the 1980s in other areas of Europe but there are worries that it could occur at the tournament.  Both countries have had their fair share of domestic problems in the last few years and the authorities are worried of a re-occurance during the tournament. If there are less England fans at the tournament then it may relieve a headache for the organisers as they are seem by many other nations fans as targets these days rather than instigators.

Talking of fans behaviour, you would think that in the 21st century that racism is a thing of the past but sadly it isn’t and it is a worry for footballers. Everyone deserves to feel safe especially at their workplace. There is no excuses for racism and UEFA will be petrified if it happens at this showcase of world sport.

Once the tournament begins the on field action should be incredible and it would be a real shame if off-field incidents took the gloss off these. Hopefully all the talk will be about the high quality of the football and nothing else.  But we also know that bad news sells papers…

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