By Martyn HermanUEFA president Michel Platini’s vision of a European Championship spread across the continent came to fruition on Friday as London’s Wembley Stadium was chosen to host the climax of Euro 2020 with 12 other cities joining the party.The 90,000-seater Wembley, rebuilt from 2003 to 2007 and venue of the 2011 and 2013 Champions League finals, will stage both semi-finals and the final of the 60th anniversary tournament dubbed a “Euro for Europe”.It will be the first time in the competition’s history when a tournament will be hosted by more than two countries.Wembley got the nod over Munich’s Allianz Arena, the other stadium initially bidding for semi-finals and final hosting rights. Munich had to make do with being one of 12 cities awarded one of the standard packages, comprising three group matches and a knockout round tie.The home of Bayern Munich will host a quarter-final, along with the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan, Rome’s Olympic Stadium and the Zenit Arena in St Petersburg, Russia.Last 16 ties will take place in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Dublin, Bilbao, Budapest, Brussels and Glasgow.Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium along with bids from Stockholm, Skopje, Jerusalem, Sofia and Minsk were all rejected.The vote for Wembley comes as a welcome tonic for the Football Association after its failed bids to host the 2006 and 2018 World Cup finals but FA chairman Greg Dyke denied any deal had been done with their German counterparts, the DFB.“There is no deal,” Dyke told reporters at the ceremony in Geneva. “Other than we will not bid (to stage) Euro 2024 because it would be a waste of time because we wouldn’t get it.”Dyke, however, hinted that England would support a German bid to host the 2024 tournament.DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach, whose federation are believed to have pulled out from trying to host final and semi-final games with an eye on a 2024 bid, said: “I am very satisfied and happy that we could convince UEFA with our bid and have in 2020, after 32 years, European championship games again in Germany.”England has hosted only one major tournament since the 1966 World Cup, the much-praised Euro 96, the final of which between Germany and the Czech Republic was played at the former Wembley.“It’s nice to win one,” Dyke said. “Wembley is a great stadium and we are delighted to be hosting the finals of this tournament. Wembley has been completely rebuilt since 96 and it’s now a beautiful stadium.“I would also like to say what a good idea this is when you sit and watch all these capital cities across Europe, what a good idea to play a tournament across all those, so congratulations to UEFA.”“This bidding process was open to more than 50 UEFA countries so for Wembley to be ultimately recognised in this way is testament to a lot of hard work behind the scenes,” Dyke added on the FA website.“It will be a great honour to be part of what will surely be a superb celebration of 60 years of the European Championship.”Dublin’s inclusion in the tournament coincides with the Football Association of Ireland’s 100th anniversary.“This one off opportunity to host part of the European finals at our home stadium will provide a major boost for Irish football and the country as a whole,” FAI chief John Delaney said in a statement.There was relief too for Russia, given the current conflict near its border with Ukraine.“I want to congratulate all supporters of Russian Football,” Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko said.“Of course, there was a chance that because of the current political situation, the powers would refuse to let us host matches at Euro 2020. But we are really happy that the world of sport and politics are kept separate.”The choice of Rome’s Olympic Stadium for a quarter-final match, follows on from Thursday’s UEFA announcement that Milan’s San Siro would be the venue for the 2016 Champions League final.Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio said it showed the country is making strides after years battling problems with hooliganism and crumbling stadia.“From a sporting perspective our intention is to consolidate the international dimension of Italian football, contribute to the renewal of our stadiums and support the growth of the football movement, in particular at grass roots level,” he said.No French cities will be used although France is hosting the next finals in 2016.
Go back to the enewsletterThe Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) and the Slovenian Tourist Board held two B2B workshops in Melbourne and Sydney on 2 and 4 July respectively. The workshops were aimed at building the exchange of knowledge and partnership cooperation with the two countries’ various tourism shareholders in Australia.It was the first workshops by CNTB in the Australian market. The activities were the result of the work and commitment of the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Slovenian Tourist Board whose representatives recognise Australia as one of their key growing source markets.Slovenia Tourist BoardCroatia and Slovenia have enjoyed a healthy rise in popularity in the recent years. Croatia recorded almost 20 million tourist arrivals (+7%) in 2018, with over 217,000 of them coming from Australia, a 17% rise over 2017. Slovenia recorded almost 6 million tourist arrivals (+8%) in 2018, almost 50,000 of which came from Australia – a 17% increase over the previous year – record-breaking results for both countries.Stretching along the Adriatic Sea, just a stone’s throw from Central Europe, Croatia is a country defined by its rich cultural legacy. Today, history perfectly combines with a youthful spirit and vibrant energy that prove irresistible to those seeking diversity. Breathtaking natural beauty, endless coastlines, diverse gastronomy, adventure, sports and wellness can be enjoyed all year round. Whether exploring the old city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, island-hopping around the Split archipelago, truffle hunting in Istria, paragliding across the Plitvice Lakes, delving into Zagreb’s C’est is D’Best street festival, birdwatching in Kopacki rit, partying the night away at the Soundwave Festival in Tisno or taking time out with the family on Zlatni Rat beach, there truly is something for everyone in Croatia.Slovenia has become recognised globally as an excellent destination for active experiences in pristine nature and for pampering in numerous health resorts, where thermal water has beneficial effects on the body and mind. It is also a destination where various congresses and meetings can be held, or for organising challenging sports events and preparations for sportspeople.The country’s objective is to offer five-star experiences which attract demanding guests in higher income brackets throughout the year, and whose wish to enjoy diverse and active experiences come true in Slovenia, and bring them peace and personal benefits, and result in new discoveries about themselves and others.For more information on each country, see http://croatia.hr and www.slovenia.infoLead image: Croatian National Tourist BoardGo back to the enewsletter