Uefa says it has no plans to change format of Euro 2020

Dublin a host city for tournament which has been posponed for a year due to Covid-19

The Aviva Stadium is a host ground for Euro 2020. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The Aviva Stadium is a host ground for Euro 2020. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Uefa says it has no plans yet to change the format of Euro 2020 amid reports it is considering moving next summer’s tournament to Russia.

European football’s governing body decided in March to postpone the tournament by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has so far stood by the 12-city format it had originally devised.

Dublin is one of the tournament’s 12 host cities, with the Aviva Stadium scheduled to host three fixtures next summer.

Poland are due to meet the winner of Northern Ireland and Slovakia in Dublin on June 14th, with Sweden then meeting Northern Ireland or Slovakia in Dublin on June 18th.

The Aviva Stadium is then scheduled to host a last-16 knockout fixture on June 29th.

Le Parisien reported earlier this week that installing Russia, which hosted the World Cup in 2018, as sole host for the finals was one option being considered by Uefa, with infection rates rising again across the continent.

While Uefa has not ruled out changing the format, it said in a statement that it currently had no plans to do so.

“Uefa intends to hold Euro 2020 in the format and the venues confirmed earlier this year and we are working closely with all host cities on preparations,” the statement read.

“Given the uncertainties surrounding Covid — over which neither Uefa nor the local organising bodies have control — it is currently too early to say whether those games in June and July will have restrictions either on fans or even their staging.”

The statement added: “Uefa’s efforts are currently focused on planning for a tournament in all 12 venues with fans.

“Decisions that run counter to that plan could be made much nearer the time if necessary but there are presently no plans to change any venue.”

Last month Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin was insistent the European Championships would go ahead next summer - however the presence of supporters will be dependent on where things stand regarding the pandemic across the continent.

“We are always concerned about the situation, but we are absolutely sure that the Euros will be played. It has to be played; it can be played,” he said.

“The only thing is that we don’t know if it will be with part of the spectators, full stadiums or no spectators. That depends on the health situation, but sport and football have to go on.

“It’s important to show, again, that the world hasn’t stopped and that there’s some positive energy. And for sure, sports and emotions and national pride, which the Euros is about, bring hope and positive energy to people.

“For now, the plan is that we do the Euros exactly as it is, but I have to say that we could do a Euro, instead of in 12 countries, in 11, in eight, in five or in one country.

“So, we are still assessing the situation, we will see. We haven’t discussed any changes yet, but, for us, it’s very important to see how this health situation will develop, how travelling will develop and how governments will react. And then, we have time to do something.”

The FAI has previously said they have had no contact from Uefa to suggest the tournament’s original format would be changed, and they have made a submission to the Government on the possibility of having limited crowds at games by March - a vital stepping stone if the Euros are to arrive in Dublin in June.

The other cities due to host matches are Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and St Petersburg.

England and Wales have already qualified for the finals, which start on June 11th next year and conclude with the semi-finals and final at Wembley. Northern Ireland and Scotland could yet join them with victory in their play-off matches which will be played later this month.

The Republic of Ireland won’t feature, following their playoff defeat to Slovakia on penalties.

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