SPORTS

Athens may co-host Euro 2020

Press reports in Germany suggested on Tuesday that Athens might stand a good chance of co-hosting Euro 2020 according to a revolutionary plan by UEFA president Michel Platini that may well be ratified in January.

The Greek capital would host between four and five soccer games of the European Championship finals if the head of European soccer’s governing body has it his way in the UEFA executive committe meeting next month and then in January, newspaper Bild and news agency DPA reported.

The plan that Platini had hinted about in late June, during the Euro 2012 tournament that Poland and Ukraine co-hosted, provided for the championship to be split to 13 cities across the continent.

The 12 host cities, one in every country, would depend on seedings and qualifying: A team would be seeded if it is among the 24 finalists and among the top 12 European nations in the FIFA world ranking. Greece currently lies ninth in the ranking.

The 12 seeds, two from each pool of four teams, would co-host group games and the first knock-out stage (the round of 16), Bild reported. The quarterfinals would then be hosted on neutral ground and the semifinals with the final in a 13th city.

Bild added that, according to the current FIFA rankings, the 2020 finals would take place in Berlin, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, London, Amsterdam, Moscow, Zagreb, Athens, Basel, Paris and Brussels, with Istanbul being a strong contender for the semis and the final.

The plan is for one stadium per host city, so the Olympic Stadium of Athens would easily qualify for the event. The question of course is the financial aspect of the project as far as Greece is concerned.