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UEFA president rules out ‘unfair’ pan-European Championship in future

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UEFA president rules out 'unfair' pan-European Championship in future



European football chief, Aleksander Ceferin, says there won’t be a repeat of the pan-continental final as witnessed in Euro 2020.

Ceferin said it was unfair to both players and fans, even though he has defended the organisation of the tournament against critics.

“I will not support it anymore. I think it is too challenging and in a way not correct that some teams have to travel more than 10 kilometres and others one kilometre,” the UEFA president said on Friday, two days before England meet Italy in the London final.

“It is not fair to fans, who had to be in Rome one day and in Baku in the next (with) 4.5 hours flight. It is an interesting idea but hard to implement and I don’t think we will do it again.”

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The Euro Championship was held in 11 cities, down from an original 12 in the coronavirus pandemic.

Certain teams —— including England and Italy —— played all three group games at home.

Switzerland, Turkey and Wales in Group A had to travel between Rome and Azerbaijan while Dublin’s withdrawal meant that Group E was hosted in Spain and Russia.

The idea of a pan-continental celebration of the tournament’s 60th anniversary came from former UEFA president Michel Platini.

Ceferin defended its being held, albeit with a year delay, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The teams are highly professional and they all respect the bubble system,” he said.

“Also, in the stadiums, we are very strict and when I see politicians saying people were infected at the matches, without any proof, it disappoints me a bit.

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“Some say 2,000 Scottish fans were infected, but the Scottish fans who went to the match [against England at Wembley] were tested.

“There were also 20,000 who came to London without tickets. You are not tested in the park, but to accuse all football of spreading the virus is irresponsible in my opinion.”

The Scottish health authority said 1,991 fans had been infected in relation to the Wembley game.

They added that more than 2,500 infections had been recorded in connection with Euro 2020 by the middle of this week.

Ceferin also defended his organisation for blocking German organizers from lighting the stadium in Munich in rainbow flag colours for a match involving Hungary.

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“My personal opinion on human rights and diversity, and the opinion of UEFA is clear,” he said.

“The problem is, we got a letter with a request to light the stadium in the rainbow colours as a protest against the government of a country in Europe, and against a parliament of a country in Europe.

“UEFA is an organisation where by statute we cannot engage in politics. We punish people if they engage in politics.

“We cannot protest against any governments and we will not be dragged into any political fight.”

Germany will host the next edition in 2024.

 

 

 

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