According to a report by French publication Le Parisien, UEFA is looking at Russia as the potential sole venue for the European Championship next summer after the concept for the tournament was dropped in various countries.
With the euro being delayed by 12 months due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, Le Parisien reports that the tournament will no longer take place in 12 different European countries, as Michel Platini originally intended after it was discovered Planning such an ambitious tournament would be impossible given the patchwork of various restrictions imposed on different countries due to the ongoing health crisis.
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The newspaper reports that Russia is seen as the main candidate to host the tournament next summer for a number of reasons.
First, the country has a relatively low COVID-19 infection rate in the first nine months of the pandemic – with around 29,000 deaths out of 1.6 million cases – and it is hoping the tournament can be held in the safest possible environment.
In addition, Russia has retained the infrastructure created to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and has a proven track record of hosting high-profile international tournaments and sporting events.
However, UEFA had refused to reveal its hand regarding possible changes to the championships next summer, stating that they will not make any decisions at that point – however if contacted by Le Parisien, Alexey Sorokin. Member of the UEFA Executive Committee An official involved in hosting the World Cup in Russia in 2018 denied any knowledge of Russia preparing to host the tournament.
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“I don’t know about it,” he said when asked for comment by Le Parisien. Sorokin will remain part of the committee that organizes games that will take place in St. Petersburg as part of the original tournament structure of Euro 2021.
Azerbaijan was another country that was classified as a host. However, this is currently unlikely due to the country’s ongoing conflict with Armenia.