Platini floats 32 cities idea

30 June 2012 07:48

UEFA president Michel Platini has caused a minor sensation by revealing a solution to who will host Euro 2020 could be for up to 32 cities across Europe to do the job.

Platini wanted Turkey to host the competition after declaring their interest, but that bid is now compromised by the competing claim of Istanbul to stage the Olympic Games in the same year. Logistically, it would be impossible to do both and the Turkey government is believed to favour the Olympic option.

UEFA have had other tentative approaches, including a joint proposal from Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, but Platini floated an option straight out of left field, when he said: "We could have one country with 12 different host cities or we could have it in 12 or 13 cities all over Europe. It could even be 24 or 32 nations."

He added: "The idea came to my mind a while ago. It's just an idea, we have not decided anything yet, but it's something I really feel passionately about and the majority of the executive committee think it's a good idea too."

Platini confirmed a final decision would be made in either January or February, by which time he will have had a chance to canvass wider opinion. It is believed the Football Association were aware of Platini's thoughts and actually, on a one-off basis, can see merit in the plan.

At a time of economic difficulties throughout the Eurozone, it would certainly save the massive infrastructure costs that tend to be associated with the event, such as new stadiums and airports.

Platini said: "There are low cost airlines and sometimes it costs less to go between London and Donetsk. It could still be four games per host city. It's just a small bit of information but it is very important and could be very interesting moving forward."

"It would be a lot easier from a financial perspective," he said. "Legally, it's not that difficult. It's the political decision that is important. We wouldn't need to build airports and stadiums, which is important, especially at this moment in time when we have an economic crisis."

By then, the European Championships will have become a 24-team tournament, an expansion many feel is not required, especially given the excellent of the current competition.

"We have 24 good teams in Europe," said Platini. "If you think about the sides who aren't here, we can find another eight good ones; Norway, Serbia, Belgium and Scotland. The level won't drop at 24."