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19 countries bid for Euro 2020
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 04 - 2014

French President of the Euro 2016 organizing committee Jacques Lambert (L) UEFA president Michel Platini (C) and President of the French soccer Federation Noel Le Graet attend a press conference for the presentation of the 2016 European Football Championship in Paris Friday. The Euro 2016 championship will run from June 10 to July 10, 2016. — AP
GENEVA — England and Germany will continue their great football rivalry in a contest to host the 2020 European Championship final and semifinals.
UEFA said Saturday that 19 countries are bidding to host games in the tournament being played across Europe, and the final stages will be at either Wembley Stadium in London or Munich's Allianz Arena.
England and Germany are also bidding for one of the 12 hosting packages of three group-stage matches in the 24-team tournament, plus a single knockout match from the last-16 or quarterfinals rounds.
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Israel and Macedonia are among bidders which have never hosted a major tournament.
“Member associations will also benefit greatly from this format, since more of them will be exposed to an elite tournament and have the opportunity to increase the development of football in their respective countries,” UEFA President Michel Platini said in a statement.
UEFA's executive committee will choose the host cities on Sept. 19 in Geneva.
Platini proposed the innovative multinational hosting plan on the eve of the Euro 2012 final in Kiev.
He has pledged to limit the burden of travel distances and costs for fans who want to follow the 51-match tournament across several time zones.
Istanbul was the favorite to get the final before the Turkey Football Federation withdrew Friday to target hosting Euro 2024 alone.
England last hosted the Euros in 1996, when it lost to eventual winner Germany in the semifinals.
West Germany hosted Euro ‘88 and also lost in the semifinals to the eventual winner, Netherlands.
Wembley and the Allianz Arena have also hosted three of the past four Champions League finals. An English team, Chelsea, won in Munich and Bayern Munich — which has Allianz as its home stadium — won at Wembley last May.
The Dutch, which co-hosted Euro 2000 with Belgium, have proposed Amsterdam and the Belgians are bidding with a planned new stadium in Brussels.
No nation which has hosted the Euros since 2000 are formally bidding to host in 2020.
However, 2018 World Cup host Russia has bid with St. Petersburg.
A total of 13 UEFA member countries did not submit bids after initially expressing interest last September.
Bidding nations:
Azerbaijan (Baku), Belarus (Minsk), Belgium (Brussels), Bulgaria (Sofia), Denmark (Copenhagen), England (London), Macedonia (Skopje), Germany (Munich), Hungary (Budapest), Israel (Jerusalem), Italy (Rome), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Ireland (Dublin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (St. Petersburg), Scotland (Glasgow), Spain (Bilbao), Sweden (Stockholm) and Wales (Cardiff). — AP

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