Where is Euro 2020 being held? The 12 host cities for the football tournament taking place in 2021 - and if the format could change next year
Coronavirus pandemic has already seen UEFA reschedule Euro 2020
No sooner had Scotland ended a 22-year absence from qualifying for a men’s major football tournament, than rumours resurfaced over where - or even if - Euro 2020 will take place.
The coronavirus pandemic has put major restrictions on our way of life for the vast majority of the year, which has included a ban on supporters attending football matches at an elite level.
And, as daily Covid case and death figures continue to rise, a world where fans can sit or stand side-by-side to cheer on their team from the stands still seems a long way from returning.
News of an effective vaccine will have raised hopes for a return to normal life but it is clear that once the necessary approvals have taken place it will still take many months to roll out.
Europe’s governing football body UEFA has already taken the tough decision to postpone this year’s tournament due to the global pandemic, pushing the Euros back 12 months to 2021.
Will they have to alter their plans again?
WIll the Euro 2020 tournament take place in 2021?
Euro 2020 is meant to be seen as a tournament to bring the whole continent together and to celebrate 60 years of European Championship football.
To help the festivities along, matches are scheduled to take place in 12 cities across 12 different countries with Wembley Stadium hosting both semi-finals and the final.
The tournament has already been pushed back 12 months due to the pandemic - despite it retaining its Euro 2020 title - in the hope of a return to normal before the big kick-off.
But the sight of fans pouring into packed stadiums, having already negotiated travel, accommodation and necessary health checks still seems some way off in the distance.
What are the host cities?
As well as London, the other 11 cities due to host matches are Glasgow, Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Munich, Rome and St Petersburg.
However, if the virus is still running rife then restrictions on travel and social distancing are inevitable, leading to the possibility of more changes from UEFA.
Russia, who hosted the 2018 World Cup, is being touted as a possible alternative to become the sole host of the tournament amid rising infection rates across Europe.
Have UEFA responded to the Russia rumours?
Yes. They say that there are no current plans to change the format of Euro 2020 but don't rule out the possibility of having to do so.
The statement reads: “UEFA intends to hold Euro 2020 in the format and the venues confirmed earlier this year and we are working closely with all host cities on preparations.
“Given the uncertainties surrounding Covid – over which neither UEFA nor the local organising bodies have control – it is currently too early to say whether those games in June and July will have restrictions either on fans or even their staging.
“UEFA’s efforts are currently focussed on planning for a tournament in all 12 venues with fans.
“Decisions that run counter to that plan could be made much nearer the time if necessary but there are presently no plans to change any venue.”
What now for fans and Euro 2020?
Sit tight (at home) and hope for the best.
It’s clear a vaccine, or multiple vaccines, are central to combating the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone, including football supporters, will have to wait to see how fast they will be administered and how effective they will be in returning life to normal.
Europe’s best 24 football nations competing on the biggest stage, in front of packed stadiums was the vision. Time will tell if it becomes a reality.