Platini plans Euro shock

UEFA President Michel Platini plans major changes for the 2020 European Championships.

This year, the European Championships were co hosted by Poland and Ukraine, however a realisation, born out of fear, has prompted Michel Platini to put forward radical plans which will see the end of the Championships in it’s current form.


Although he doesn’t plan to scrap the tournament, Platini’s vision will surely be detrimental to the international game.


Euro 2012 saw 16 teams head to the tournament to contest the 52 year old competition, however, UEFA have already confirmed that 24 teams will take part in the 2016 Championships that are to be held in France.


It has been suggested that today’s economic climate has deterred would-be host nations to shy away from making formal bids to host major international tournaments. The fact that UEFA have seen minimal interest from countries to host Euro 2020 only reinforces this theory.


So far, UEFA have seen initial interest from Turkey, a joint bid from Azerbaijan and Georgia and a three way approach from Republic of Ireland, Wales and Scotland for Euro2020. Platini, privately is concerned and has decided he must take drastic action to revitalise interest.


Platini was left a little embarrassed when he publicly welcomed the interest from Turkey only to then realise the interest did not have the backing from the Turkish government.


The UEFA boss has now put forward plans to discard host nations and instead wants to stage tournament matches all over Europe. This will see the burden of staging a finals tournament shared rather than straining the resources of a host nation.


Although it may make economic sense, the real reason for this proposal is the fact that none of Europe’s major footballing nations showed any interest in staging the tournament forcing Platini to think about making changes to reinvigorate the tournament.


Whilst this revolutionary idea may be packaged as a good thing, we must not lose sight of what we stand to lose if this idea becomes a reality.


The host nation of any tournament adds a sense of excitement and optimism as well as having the power to bring countries together. Just take Euro 96 as an example. The English media is notorious for it’s reporting of the English football team, however, in 1996 all media channels came together and formed the foundation for widespread support for England during the finals.


Again, if we look at South Korea in 2002, who can forget the overwhelming support the nation’s players got during their remarkable run to the semi finals? Or the way Germany stood together as a country during the 2006 World Cup?


Losing the host nation would not only take this away from our game it will also stop countries from benefiting financially. Hosting a tournament brings supporters and supporters bring their wallets. A much needed boost is always welcomed by countries and I am yet to learn of a country losing money as a result of staging a major tournament.


Although Platini admits his plans is at the ‘ideas’ stage, he plans to have a decision made as early as January 2013. The former French International has also conceded that his proposal has been met with initial positive response from members of the national federations.


I can only see these plans as disrupting and diluting our game even further. It looks as though Platini wants a Champions league tournament for the international scene.


Kam Gill