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ST. PETERSBURG, January 19. /TASS/. An official emblem of St. Petersburg for the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup was unveiled on Thursday during a solemn ceremony in Russia’s second largest city, which was selected among 12 countries to host the matches of the main European football tournament in less than four years.
The ceremony was attended by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), and St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko.
"We have all rights to be called the football city," Poltavchenko said during the ceremony. "Our city has been breathing with football over the recent years as it is anticipating to host such tournaments as the (2017 FIFA) Confederations Cup, (2018 FIFA) World Cup and the (2020 UEFA) Euro Cup.
"We have recently completed the construction of the football stadium on the Krestovsky Island and are developing transport infrastructure," the governor said. "We are doing everything in line with the schedule and with the proper quality, which will remain as the heritage of St. Petersburg."
According to UEFA’s official website, the logo of St. Petersburg for the 2020 Euro Cup depicts the Palace Bridge, which "has established itself as one of the most iconic sites in the city."
Linking downtown St. Petersburg to Vasilevskiy Ostrov, the bridge passes some of the city’s most historic buildings, such as the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum.
Mutko, who oversees issues regarding sports, tourism and youth policies in the country, praised the selected logo for St. Petersburg at the upcoming 2020 Euro Cup.
"The emblem is simply marvelous and it is the most beautiful bridge," Mutko said. "It seems to me that this catchy emblem will suit all tastes. On the whole, whether we are speaking about the World Cup or the Euro Cup, the anticipation of such tournaments fills us up with enthusiasm."
According to the logo’s description on the UEFA website, the construction of the bridge started in 1912, while its height was strictly limited so that it would not obstruct the view of famous buildings and monuments in the vicinity.
The central span of the bridge splits into two wings, which can be raised to allow ships to pass along the Neva River. The bridge attracts numerous tourists in summer during the White Nights when it opens in the early hours of the morning to allow boats to pass.
UEFA President Ceferin said in turn that it was not his first visit to St. Petersburg, which is a city with a rich culture and history, and he hoped that Russia would fulfill all earlier provided guarantees regarding the organization of the football tournament.
Ceferin also said that the new format of the Euro Cup will be a new challenge for for UEFA and football fans, who would have to cover thousands of kilometers across the continent to see the matches of the anniversary tournament.
The decision to hold the 2020 Euro Cup, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary that year, 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’s then-President Michel Platini’s initiative, who proposed concept of the 2020 tournament "EURO for Europe."
The matches of the 2020 Euro Cup will be held at stadiums of 12 European countries in 13 different cities from each part of the continent - from St. Petersburg to Bilbao and from Dublin to Baku.
Four cities in different European countries will be hosting each three group stage matches and one quarterfinal match of the 2020 Euro Cup and they are St. Petersburg (Russia), 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 will be held at the Wembley Stadium in London.