Four weeks ago the Football Associations of Scotland, Ireland and Wales surprised the football world by expressing an interest in hosting Euro2020 in a three-way love in. Whilst not formally stating their intention to bid for the tournament, their dipping of the toe into the murky waters of International football was received in favourable terms by many people. Faced with competition from Turkey and Georgia at the moment, the Celtic bid looks very appealling.
Michel Platini, however, may think otherwise. He wasn’t very keen on inheriting the joint bid from Poland and Ukraine and has expressed his Gallic frustration on a number of occasions with the progress of the infrastructure which still isn’t quite finished despite the tournament kicking off in a week’s time. He also feels a bit guilty about France winning the bid for 2016 7-6 over Turkey where essentially he had the casting vote, so Turkey will be firm favourites. That is unless they win a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.But do they really fit with UEFA’s vision for the Championships? We can glean quite a lot of information from the bid document for bids for 2016 on what UEFA expects from tournaments in the future.
The first thing to remind you is that from 2016 the tournament is being farcically expanded to a 24 nation competition, which based on the potential Celtic bid, will mean that 50 UEFA nations will be competing for 21 spots – hardly a taxing qualifying tournament. In terms of the tournament, UEFA set their infrastructure criteria for 2016 as:-
- 2 x stadiums with at least 50,000 net seating capacity (net meaning seats free from any obstructions) of which one should preferably have up to 60,000.
- 3 x stadiums with at least a 40,000 seating capacity
- 4 x stadiums with at least a 30,000 seating capacity
In addition there should be a maximum of three stadiums to be used as backup that fall within these parameters. All stadiums need to be at UEFA Category 1 level prior to the commencement of the tournament which has very little to do with design, facilities or even a fancy roof but more to do with the size of the Referee’s dressing room, the TV compound and the number of corporate boxes (40 for 30,000, 80 for 50,000+).
It also states that stadium must be well connected to public transport hubs (well that must rule out Turkey for a start – have you tried to get to the Ataturk stadium by public transport?) and be within a two hour drive of an airport. At least three roads from different directions should lead to the stadium (to avoid “crossover” between fans, media and VIPs), and there should be specific number of parking spaces for the different catagories of VIPs. In the past, UEFA (and FIFA) have not liked a concentration of stadiums in a small number of host cities. Portugal was ideal for spectators who were able to travel between 7 of the 8 venues by car within a couple of hours, but UEFA felt that the teams training camps and accommodation were too close together. So, despite its size and facilities, the day will not be anytime soon when we see a London European Championships, despite the fact the city currently meets the stadium criteria (Wembley, Olympic Stadium, Twickenham, Emirates, Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane, Upton Park and The Valley – almost). Continue reading