MOSCOW, June 17. /TASS/. All 12 European cities selected earlier to host matches of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, which was moved for the next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, confirmed their readiness to host the games of the major European football championship in 2021, the UEFA press office announced on Wednesday.
On March 17, UEFA decided to postpone the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup for exactly one year as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The championship is now scheduled to be held between June 11 and July 11, 2021.
The matches of the 2020 Euro Cup were initially scheduled to 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) between June 12 and July 12, 2020.
"The 12 original UEFA Euro 2020 host cities will stage the tournament when it takes place in summer 2021, with the UEFA Executive Committee also confirming the updated match schedule for the finals," the statement from the UEFA press service reads.
"All existing tickets remain valid for the tournament in 2021, though buyers who wish to return their tickets will have a final opportunity to request a refund from 18 to 25 June…," according to the statement. "Dates for potential future ticket sales - including for fans of the four teams that qualify via the play-offs - will be confirmed at a later date."
The UEFA Executive Committee held an on-line video conference on Wednesday discussing various issues, including the resumption of numerous European club and international teams’ tournaments, which were put on hold earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later," UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin told a news conference following the Executive Board’s session.
"UEFA took a bold decision when it decided to postpone EURO 2020. But in doing so, we created the space which has allowed domestic club competitions across the continent to resume, where possible, and play to a conclusion," Ceferin continued. "While the game has suffered huge difficulties as a result of the pandemic, those blows would have landed much harder if we had not shown leadership in those early days."
"The football community has worked together and shown tremendous unity during this unprecedented crisis," the UEFA presidents stated. "I would like to thank FIFA, our sister confederations, national associations, clubs, leagues, players and the relevant authorities for their continuous support and commitment and I am convinced that we come out of this crisis stronger and with closer links than ever before."
A decision to hold the 2020 Euro Cup, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this 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.
Russia’s second largest city of Saint 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.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 8,313,100 people have been infected worldwide and more than 447,400 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 4,353,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, 553,301 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 304,342 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 7,478 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.