NIZHNY NOVGOROD, October 10. /TASS/. President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Aleksander Ceferin has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the opening ceremony of the 2020 Euro Cup, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year.
Ceferin and Putin were attending ‘Russia - Country of Sports’ international sports forum on Thursday in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. As they met at the ‘Modern Sport. Innovations’ exhibition, organized within the frames of the forum, Ceferin personally invited Putin to the opening ceremony of the main European football tournament.
The UEFA president told Putin that although it was still a long time before the launch of the championship, it would be a great honor if the Russian president found the time to attend the opening ceremony.
"I will try," Putin said adding that "this will be the case when the football will unite everyone."
Speaking earlier in the day at the forum’s plenary session UEFA President Ceferin stated that Russia was "more than ready" to host matches of the European football championship next summer.
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), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Glasgow (Scotland) and Copenhagen (Denmark).
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, are playing qualifying matches to vie for the berth in the final 24-team lineup of the quadrennial European football championship.
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 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 commissioned in early 2017. It serves as a home stadium for Zenit St. Petersburg football club.
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.