July 12 – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says he will never again support the idea of a pan-continental European Championship as it is unfair to the teams as well as fans to fly thousands of kilometres between matches.
Brainchild of his predecessor Michel Platini to mark the 60th anniversary of the tournament, the 11-city concept, with games spread from Copenhagen to Azerbaijan, was a logistical nightmare, in part because of the need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The idea was always going to be a one-off but Ceferin told the BBC: “If you ask me, I would not support it anymore. I think it’s too challenging.”
Switzerland travelled the furthest, 15,485km (9,622 miles) and Ceferin added: “It’s in a way not correct that some teams have to travel more than 10,000 kilometres and the others 1,000 for example.”
“It’s not fair to the fans. Some fans had to be in Rome and in a couple of days they had to be in Baku – a 4-1/2 hour flight. So it’s a difficult one, it’s an interesting idea but hard to implement. I don’t think we will do it again.”
On the plus side Ceferin said the tournament, postponed for a year and the first Euros under his tenure, was a big success both on the pitch and in preventing any significant outbreak of Covid-19 between any of the players.
“It has been a special Euros, for sure. I will remember it as the beginning of normality and the return of fans. I have never seen a dramatic Euros like this one, with great matches and surprising results. Our health protocols are extremely tough, and everyone is tested, even those who have been vaccinated. I was tested 76 times.
“The teams are highly professional and they all respect the bubble system. Also, in the stadiums, we are very strict and when I see politicians saying people were infected at the matches, without any proof, it disappoints me a bit.”
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