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UEFA chief Ceferin: ‘Russia more than ready’ to host matches of 2020 Euro Cup

The UEFA president addressed the Russia — Country of Sports international sports forum in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod
 President of the UEFA Aleksander Ceferin EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI
President of the UEFA Aleksander Ceferin
© EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, October 10. /TASS/. Russia is already prepared to host matches of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup and is capable of solving all sorts of problems regarding the organization of the event, Aleksander Ceferin, the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), said on Thursday.

The UEFA president is attending on Thursday the Russia — Country of Sports international sports forum, which is hosted this year by the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod.

"As much as I see and as much as I spoke to our people [in UEFA], Russia is more than ready to organize the Euro [Cup]," Ceferin told a plenary session of the forum.

"You showed last year with the perfect organization of the World Cup that you are welcoming the fans, that you have great infrastructure and I am absolutely not afraid about the Euro [Cup] next year in Saint Petersburg," the UEFA president stated.

Russia hosted its first-ever FIFA World Cup in 2018, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14 and ended with a spectacular final match, played also at the Luzhniki Stadium, where France defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the much-coveted World Cup Trophy.

UEFA President Ceferin added that since football is the most popular sport in the world, organizers of large-scale football tournaments are the first to deal with various challenges, particularly with the issues of security and safety provision.

"Absolutely, football is by far the most popular sport in the world," he stated. "But, of course it doesn’t bring only positive effects from that. We are the first ones, who have to deal with safety and security."

"Our events are so big that we have the most challenges with safety and security," Ceferin continued. "I think that we can help in solving those problems and we are doing that with governments in every country, where we organize events."

"It will be quite challenging for the next Euro [Cup], because it will be 12 different countries with 12 different legislations, different currencies, visa systems," the UEFA president pointed out. "But, I am sure it will be a great success. Especially, I am not afraid of the situation here in Russia, because we have seen last year how you can solve some problems…"

The matches of the 2020 Euro Cup will be held at stadiums in 12 different cities across Europe, namely in London (England), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), St. Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Glasgow (Scotland) and Copenhagen (Denmark).

Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches and one of the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup. The newly-built football arena in St. Petersburg hosted the opening and final matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and also served as one of the 12 stadiums across the country hosting matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The over 62,300-seat capacity stadium was laid down in the western part of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg in 2007 and opened in early 2017. It serves as a home stadium for Zenit St. Petersburg football club.

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.

A total of 24 national football teams will be playing in the final tournament of the 2020 Euro Cup. All 55 UEFA national member teams, including 12 teams from the hosting countries, will have to play qualifying matches to vie for the berth in the final 24-team lineup of the quadrennial European football championship.

It is possible that some of the national teams from the hosting countries of the 2020 Euro Cup will not be playing on home soil in case they fail to clear the qualifying stage.