Amid speculation that Euro 2020 may be played in a single location next summer due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Belgian national team coach Roberto Martinez stressed on Friday that what was most important was for the championship to be held.
Speaking at a press conference, Martinez said everyone hoped the event could be held in 12 locations, which, he said, would be a wonderful celebration and a unique event in European football.
However, it was necessary to monitor the situation, he observed, expressing confidence that UEFA had “two or three other options.”
Everything else was simply speculation since, due to COVID-19, an event could not be planned with a single possible scenario, Martinez said, adding that everyone was now making preparations and would see if the present format would be maintained.
According to the current format, Euro 2020 should be organised in 12 cities in as many countries. Last summer the tournament was postponed to Summer 2021 (11 June – 11 July). However, the second wave of COVID-19 infections has led to fears that the health situation might not have been corrected by then. In such a situation, having 24 teams crisscrossing Europe seems increasingly improbable by the day.
This week, Le Parisien daily reported that the European football confederation, UEFA, was studying the possibility of holding the championship in a single country. Russia was presented as a possible host country.
UEFA’s Slovenian president, Aleksander Ceferin, admitted that UEFA was now preparing several scenarios with regard to Euro 2020. He said the idea was not to cobble together a format, but that the current one could be modified if necessary.
In the meantime, according to Le Parisien, UEFA is also increasingly aware that it would be much easier to organise a European championship in a single country given the current circumstances.
The first option would then be Russia, which successfully organised the World Cup just over two years ago and, as a result, already has all the installations needed to host the European championship.
Before the decision was taken to postpone Euro 2020, Russia had already indicated its readiness to host the European championship during the Summer.
UEFA preferred not to confirm anything to Le Parisien early this week. It stressed in a response to the newspaper that it wished to take the time to make the right decision on the final phase of the tournament.