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Euro 2020 will be played in 13 countries

uefa logoMichel Platini’s grand experiment is one stop closer to fruition as UEFA has announced that 13 countries will host the 24-team 2020 European Championship.

In an effort to grab as many political votes as he can from each European federation, UEFA has announced that the vast majority of stadiums must have a 50,000 capacity, which at least 20 of UEFA’s 53 member nations already have.

Platini said Turkey, which had been favored to host Euro 2020 alone, is his choice to host the final and both semifinals.

“As far as I am concerned, yes. For the other members, I don’t know,” Platini said, referring to his 16 board colleagues.

However, Platini ruled out a Turkish bid if Istanbul is chosen in September to host the 2020 Olympics, scheduled several weeks after the June football tournament.

“If they do get the Olympic Games then it is out of the question for Turkey to organize a match of the Euro,” Platini said.

The Euros were the best soccer tournament in the World, better than the World Cup. That is because outside of Brazil and Argentina, all the major soccer powers play in it. At 16-teams it was the perfect size. You had to be good to qualify, and every match meant something.

But that is no longer true. At France in 2016, the field will be increased to 24-teams means, meaning the group stages will take on the look and feel of the Champions League, where we already know the group winners and runner-ups before the competition begins.

And it will be the same here. But 8 additional teams means more games, more TV revenue and more ticket sales. And just as important for Platini, 8 more soccer federations that will vote for him.

And by holding the 2020 competition across Europe its the same thing. Why limit yourself to one country when you can have 13 of them all happy to do the bidding of Platini and Uefa in return for a couple of tournament games?