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BAKU IS IN FOR EURO 2020!

UEFA has entrusted Azerbaijan with holding four games of the European Football Championship

Author:

23.09.2014

The UEFA Executive Committee has selected Baku to be one of the 13 cities of the Old World that will host matches of the 2020 European Football Championship. This was decided at an Executive Committee meeting on 19 September.

The idea behind the decision to spread the finals of EURO 2020 over multiple cities was to mark the 60th anniversary of the tournament, first held in 1960. In this regard, UEFA President Michel Platini decided to bring the joy of football to the highest possible number of European countries. A total of 19 European cities submitted their bids to stage games at the finals of EURO 2020.

According to the decision, Baku will host three group games and a one quarter-final game of EURO 2020. Along with Baku, quarter-finals will also be held in Munich, Rome and St. Petersburg. The semi-finals and final of EURO 2020 will be held in London.

Evidently, the inclusion of Baku in the list of cities hosting EURO 2020 games is a historic achievement. It is no secret that football is the king of sports, and to host the second most important competition is a dream of any nation. EURO 2020 will be the biggest football competition to be held in Baku. Earlier, Azerbaijan played host to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, and in 2016 the country will host the UEFA European Under-17 Championship. However, these tournaments are no match to the EURO 2020.

Each game will be televised to 100 countries and the event will be covered by representatives of more than 200 media outlets. Tens of thousands of tourists are expected to gather in Baku to support their favourite teams. UERO 2020 will be the second tournament with the participation of 24 rather than 16 teams, as was the case with in Euro 2012.

The selection of Baku as one of the host cities of EURO 2020 shows the high confidence on the part of the UEFA President and Executive Committee members. Michel Platini repeatedly visited Azerbaijan, participated in the opening of new stadiums and witnessed rapid economic development of the country. Of course, in taking a decision, the UEFA Executive Committee was guided by the stability and security in Baku.

A good deal of credit for Baku's success goes to the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan, which promoted its bid with great competence thanks to the fact that the application was supported by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Support of the head of state is very important to UEFA in organising tournaments. From the very first day, Aliyev gave assurances of creating all conditions needed for staging the finals of Euro 2020 in Baku.

It is worth noting that in addition to the group games, Baku will host one quarter-final, which also shows the level of trust. In competing for the right to host a quarter-final, Azerbaijan has left behind Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Ireland, Romania, Scotland and Spain. By the way, as many as 37 votes were cast in support of Baku's application for a quarter-final, which was second only to Munich (38 votes). Meanwhile, St. Petersburg and Rome received 29 and 20 votes respectively, whereas Brussels, Cardiff and Budapest gathered even fewer votes and were left without quarter-finals.

EURO 2020 will be held in June-July. UEFA has included Baku together with St. Petersburg in the Eastern Group. According to the regulation, the cities staging quarter-finals have to be in the same geographical zone. Therefore, UEFA gave preference to pairs of Baku-St. Petersburg and Munich-Rome.

EURO 2020 games will be held at the Olympic Stadium, currently under construction, with a capacity of 69,000 people. If the Azerbaijani team makes it to the final stage of the tournament, it will play two group games in Baku and one group game away.

Thus, in 6 years time from now, Baku will host a major football tournament ranking second in importance. The participation of the Azerbaijani team in this tournament will become even greater joy to the fans. However, there is still much to be done to achieve this end.

 

 

LIST OF EURO 2020 HOST CITIES

 

London - semi-finals and final

Baku - three group games and one quarter-final

Munich - three group games and one quarter-final

Rome - three group games and one quarter-final

St. Petersburg - three group games and one quarter-final

Brussels - three group games and one round of 16 game

Copenhagen - three group games and one round of 16 game

Amsterdam - three group games and one round of 16 game

Budapest - three group games and one round of 16 game

Dublin - three group games and one round of 16 game

Bucharest - three group games and one round of 16 game

Glasgow - three group games and one round of 16 game

Bilbao - three group games and one round of 16 game

 

 

AT FIRST HAND

 

"In choosing cities for EURO 2020, we have not been guided by the power of teams of the corresponding countries or their attractiveness for tourists. The main factor was the presence of airports and transport infrastructure. In selecting the cities for the quarter-final stage, the members of the executive committee tried to find a balance between East and West. Rome and Munich are situated in Western Europe, while Baku and St. Petersburg are located in Eastern Europe. Azerbaijan will host such a representative tournament for the first time. This country is part of Europe, it is part of UEFA. I don't see why it shouldn't be given the opportunity. Of course, I am disappointed that a number of smaller countries failed to prepare their bids for hosting EURO 2020 games more properly, they should have prepared better conditions."

Michel Platini, UEFA President

 

"We were very pleased with the UEFA decision to hold four games of Euro 2020 in Baku. Congratulations to all football fans! The inclusion of Baku in the list of the 13 most developed cities in Europe and the holding of games of the European Championship in our capital will become a special event in the life of sport fans and will contribute to the development of football. This is the result of successful policy of President Ilham Aliyev in the field of sport."

Rovnaq Abdullayev, AFFA President



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