Football’s coming home – to cities

11 June 2021

The Henri Delaunay trophy has made its tour around Europe in advance of UEFA Euro 2020, delayed for one year, which for the first time takes place in 11 host cities across the continent.

From the kick off in Rome this Friday evening to the final in London on 11 July, legions of volunteers and staff have collaborated to ensure the 60th anniversary of the championships will be one to be remembered.

A glimpse of normal

Undoubtedly, the pandemic situation sets the scene for a different tournament than thousands of fans would have wanted. Nonetheless, cities, including many Eurocities member cities, have stepped up to do what they can.

In London, special tannoy announcements by well-known sports commentator John Motson will be played at five metro stations – with the Baker Street and Wembley Park stations creating dug outs, and player tunnels set up at Paddington and Kings Cross. In addition, a replica pitch at Kings Cross will allow fans to take photos.

“After such a challenging past year, I’m delighted that London will soon play a key part in the competition, with eight matches hosted at Wembley,” commented Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. “I have no doubt that the tournament will act as a catalyst for the capital’s recovery and bring Londoners together to cheer on England.”

In Munich, a planned football village at the Olympic Park providing public viewings of the matches has had to be abandoned. Nonetheless, the 75,000 seater Allianz arena will be operating at 20% capacity – welcoming roughly 14,000 fans per match.

Munich’s Deputy Mayor Katrin Habenschaden with the European Championship Ambassadors Celia Šašić and Philipp Lahm, both popular former professional football players, on the city hall balcony

“The players and soccer enthusiasts – including myself, by the way – have had to wait a long time for this UEFA Euro 2020,” said Katrin Habenschaden, Deputy Mayor of Munich. “All the more reason for me and many others to keep fingers crossed for the national team and wish the fans lots of fun!”

Rome’s Football Village, on the other hand, opens to the public today, where giant television screens, football pitches for visitors to play on, and even a stage for DJs and musicians will welcome up to 1,680 visitors in order to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

In another part of the city, well known to tourists as it is opposite the Roman Forum, up to 1,000 people will be permitted to watch the games on giant screens.

Glasgow, too, promises a packed programme of events in its Fan Zone, where 6,000 fans will be allowed to attend per day, with seated viewings. Inside, they will find not only large screens, but also a range of food and beverages showcasing the very best of Scottish produce. To make the most of the festival atmosphere, events are even scheduled on days with no matches, including contemporary and traditional music, comedy and drag nights, cinema, dance, and family entertainment, which, organisers say, will take place in a safe environment.

The Henri Delaunay Cup In Glasgow | Photo: Scottish FA/ Jeff Holmes

“The rich programme represents the country’s diverse communities, art forms and festivals and we can’t wait to welcome music, comedy, arts, dance, film fans and more along to soak up the wonderful cultural offering this summer,” said Councillor David McDonald, Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council. “But perhaps most importantly, it will bring vibrancy back to the city and provide an opportunity for the people of Scotland to come together once again, as well as providing a welcome boost for businesses,” he added.

The championships will take place in Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville and St. Petersburg.

Main image photo: Scottish FA / Jeff Holmes


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer