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EURO2020 will pick lucky 13 from 32 association bids

UEFA is awarding EURO2020 games to individual cities rather than stage the competition in one country. Cities and stadiums are bidding in partnership to be part of the event and some see winning a spot as supporting their sport infrastructure investment.

The matches will be split into 13 different packages, with 12 standard packages, including three group matches and one knockout round (round of 16 or quarter-finals), and one package for the semi-finals and the final.

All of the 32 confirmed bidders will be able to present up to two bids – one for the standard package and one for the semi-final/final package. The candidates have the right to change their initial host city selection, but must submit their final bid dossier by 25 April 2014. The appointment of the host cities by the UEFA Executive Committee will take place on 25 September 2014.

Istanbul will be particularly interested in putting on a show in 2020 after losing out to Tokyo for the Olympic Games. Istanbul is investing in both stadiums (Inonu is under construction) and infrastructure to improve transport links, which benefits tourism and events. For example, a group of seven banks is funding the US$2.3 billion construction of the third Bosporus Bridge. A joint Italian-Turkish consortium comprising Astaldi and IC Ictas will build the bridge, which will reduce congestion in and around Istanbul.

Spain has included Valencia in their list of bid cities. The new stadium stands unfinished, a closed construction site since February 2009 but as long as Valencia starts work on the new New Mestalla before January 2016, the stadium can be part of a bid. The region, which has already invested 150 million euros has hired KPMG to report in November on the stadium specification which will attract new investment. The club has talked to commercial operators who may be able to get extra value from a venue and KPMG’s brief includes reducing final construction costs, all of which is designed to get funder Bankia to re-engage with the project.

The club stated:

Valencia is clear that, with the economic scenario of 2013, it is impossible to finish work on the new Mestalla with the initial roadmap. That is why we have been working in recent months with architect Mark Fenwick to find formulas which achieve lower costs of construction work without losing quality. In that sense, the intention of the organisation is that the stadium has the five-star rating and will become the most modern and avant-garde in Europe.

KPMG will be looking at reducing capacity to – reports suggest 64,000 (UEFA five star requires 50,000) from 75,000 and equivalent reductions in parking and infrastructure. At 64,000, the stadium could host a semi-final. If chosen, Valencia would be offered a great chance to convince businesses to invest in completion and operation of the stadium.

Bilbao’s new San Mames stadium is also in Spain’s provisional bid. The new stadium hosts 53,332 fans. The project was approved in March 2006 and it weathered the economic crisis to start construction 2010. The team is famously made up only of Basque players and the Basque people contributed 52.6% of the money for the €211 million stadium, with the remainder coming from public institutions.

The 32 member associations which have stated their interest are: Armenia (Yerevan), Azerbaijan (Baku), Belarus (Minsk), Belgium (Brussels), Bulgaria (Sofia), Croatia (Zagreb), Czech Republic (Prague), Denmark (Copenhagen), England (London), Finland (Helsinki), France (Lyon), Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Skopje), Germany (Munich), Greece (Athens), Hungary (Budapest), Israel (Jerusalem), Italy (Rome and Milan), Kazakhstan (Astana), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Poland (Warsaw and Chorzow), Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), Republic of Ireland (Dublin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (Saint Petersburg), Scotland (Glasgow), Serbia (Belgrade), Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia), Sweden (Solna), Switzerland (Basel), Turkey (Istanbul), Ukraine (Kyiv and Donetsk) and Wales (Cardiff).