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GENEVA, September 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg has been selected to host three group stage and one quarterfinal stage football matches of the 2020 Euro Cup.
The decision regarding the hosting cities of the 2020 Euro Cup matches was made on Friday in Geneva by the Executive Committee of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
In its bid to host four matches of the European football championship in 2020, St. Petersburg offered Zenit Arena, which is currently under construction and is planned to be commissioned in 2016. The 69,000-seat capacity Zenit Arena is also one of the 12 stadiums in Russia selected to host the 2018 World Cup.
The other three cities, which were also selected to host three group stage matches and a quarterfinal match each, are Rome (Italy), Munich (Germany) and Baku (Azerbaijan).
Copenhagen (Denmark), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium) and Glasgow (Scotland) will each host three group stage matches and one match of the Last 16 round.
UEFA’s Executive Committee decided that the semifinals and the final of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, which in six years will be celebrating its 60th anniversary, will be held at the Wembley Stadium in London.
The decision to hold the anniversary Euro Cup in various European countries instead of in one or two hosting countries was made at the UEFA Executive Committee’s meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 6, 2012. The decision came as a result of UEFA President Michel Platini’s initiative, who proposed concept of the 2020 tournament “EURO for Europe.”
In January of 2013, the Executive Committee decided that the UEFA Euro Cup 2020 final round will be staged in 13 cities around Europe.
Addressing the Ordinary UEFA Congress in London in May of 2013, Platini said "In 2020, the EURO will never have better lived up to its name."
"It will be decidedly continental and profoundly European. It will be a EURO of unity and shared experiences. It will, of course, be a new challenge - a challenge of a new kind … [and with] one single language: football," UEFA website quoted him as saying.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said the decision to hold the tournament across various European countries instead of one or two was also made proceeding from the scale of the anticipated event at all levels, including the financial one.
“Obviously the fact that the EURO will feature 24 teams instead of 16 puts an additional burden on countries hosting such an event,” he said. “It becomes much more difficult for many countries - the requirements are becoming bigger and bigger.”
"An opportunity like this, to give many cities and many countries the possibility to host even just one part of a EURO, is certainly an excellent thing, especially in times when you have an economic situation where you cannot expect countries to invest in the facilities such an event requires,” Infantino said. “Certainly one of the purposes of this decision is to help countries who are perhaps not sure today whether they should build a national stadium - giving them the impetus to build such a stadium.”
“Instead of having a party in one country, we will have a party all over Europe in 2020," UEFA General Secretary Infantino concluded.