FA buys into Platini’s Euro 2020 vision
25 Sep 2012
English Football Association chairman David Bernstein has stated the FA is keen to host the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium if UEFA president Michel Platini’s vision to revamp the hosting concept for the competition comes to fruition.
Platini in June floated the proposal that Euro 2020 could be hosted in 12 or 13 cities across Europe, rather than being staged by one or two countries. Platini’s proposal comes as UEFA seeks to tackle the issue of a shortage of interest in staging Euro 2020. UEFA in May announced details of a new bidding process for Euro 2020 after receiving a lukewarm response from countries following the initial deadline for expressions of interest, which closed on May 15. UEFA unveiled a new process which will allow any of its 53 member associations to submit a bid. Turkey has long stated its intention to bid for Euro 2020, while Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland confirmed their interest in exploring a joint proposal and Azerbaijan and Georgia are keen on lodging a joint bid.
Platini’s proposal is set to be debated by UEFA’s Executive Committee in December ahead of a decision early next year. England suffered embarrassment in its bid to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Bernstein said the FA would not want to get into any kind of bidding war to stage Euro 2020. However, he added: “Clearly Wembley is incredibly highly thought of by UEFA and it is something we will probably push for. UEFA want to hold the semi-finals and the final on the same ground, or in the same city and I think we would be on their shortlist – but there would be some strong competition.”
UEFA holds Wembley in high regard with the stadium set to host the final of this season’s Champions League just two years after last staging the showpiece event. Bernstein believes Platini’s Euro 2020 concept would rest on the race for the 2020 Olympic Games, which the Turkish capital Istanbul is contesting with Madrid and Tokyo. “One of the major factors is whether Turkey get the Olympic Games or not,” Bernstein added, according to Reuters. “If Turkey do not get the Olympic Games then I think they are in a pretty good position to stage the Euros. If we believed there was a real opportunity of having the tournament here of course we would look at it. Of course there would be an intent, the public want it and we’d want it and it would be wonderful to have it here. If Michel Platini’s current views prevail and it becomes a pan-European competition, then the focus needs to be on the semi-finals and final.”