The Insider: Euro 2020 belongs in the dustbin of history
In his latest column, SSN's Kaveh Solhekol explains why Euro 2020 should be held in just one country in the summer of 2021 - England
By Kaveh Solhekol, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 17/03/20 6:46pm
Euro 2020 belongs in the dustbin of history.
Former UEFA president Michel Platini was very pleased with himself when he came up with the idea for a pan-continental tournament for Euro 2020.
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Why have just one host country when you can spread a tournament around the whole of Europe? "In these days of cheap travel, anything is possible," he said in June 2012.
That was then, this is now.
Plenty of people told Platini it was a crazy idea, but he was not listening. By the end of 2012, he said he had convinced every country in Europe to back his plan except one - Turkey.
Does Turkey deserve credit for seeing through Platini's plan? That's debatable because this is football and they were probably more motivated and aggrieved that their hopes of hosting Euro 2020 on their own had disappeared in the mist across Lake Geneva.
Fast forward eight years, and Euro 2020 was supposed to be held this summer in 12 different countries. It should have been 13 but Brussels wasn't able to modernise its stadium in time so its games were given to Wembley instead.
Euro 2020 was supposed to kick-off in Rome on June 12 and finish at Wembley a month later. There would be 51 games in 31 days all over the continent - from Dublin in the west to Baku in the east; from Rome in the south to St Petersburg in the north.
'Platini's dream has become UEFA's nightmare'
It was to be Platini's crowning glory. It would showcase the power and prestige of UEFA. What better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Championship than with this dazzling spectacle?
That was the theory anyway. What Platini hadn't counted on was that he would have to resign in disgrace as UEFA president three years later after it emerged he had received a £1.3m payment from former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
It was left to Platini's eventual successor as UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to oversee the delivery of Euro 2020 and everything was going relatively smoothly, with semi-finals and the final due to be played at Wembley, until the coronavirus pandemic.
At a special meeting called by UEFA today, European football's stakeholders are expected to postpone Euro 2020 until next summer to make time for domestic leagues to complete their fixtures this summer.
The question then should be whether Euro 2021 still needs to be a pan-continental tournament. Will there still be an appetite for a tournament with 12 host cities?
For example, will Wales and Switzerland fans still be expected to fly from Western Europe to Azerbaijan to watch their teams play each other thousands of miles away in Baku?
Will there be airlines who will fly them there and back? Is it the best use of our resources to have millions of fans crisscrossing Europe in thousands of planes, just so Platini can see his grand plan come to life?
Platini's dream has become UEFA's nightmare. Not only should UEFA postpone Euro 2020 today but it should declare that Euro 2021 will be held in just one country next summer.
'Euro 2021 should be hosted in England'
The Women's Euro 2021 is being held in England and the men's tournament should be too. It would be a powerful symbol of unity and equality with stadiums packed all over England.
The summer of 2021 would be a festival of football.
England has the stadiums and infrastructure to host both tournaments back to back from June to August. It would mean less travel for fans and less pollution for the world.
The future needs to be smaller and more sustainable and UEFA should lead by example. Platini's plan was a grand folly. His era is over. His time has been and gone.
He couldn't attend games at Euro 2016 in France in an official capacity because he was banned from football. He should be invited to the finals of the men's and women's finals in Wembley next summer. To see another world is possible.