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Platini announces 39 applicants for Euro 2020 hosts

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Cities in 32 countries are keen to get a slice of the 2020 European Championship action. UEFA's decision to stage the tournament in a variety of cities across the continent has left the governing body with a shortlist of 39 cities eager to host some of the matches.

The costs of staging a major football tournament can be daunting in terms of providing stadia and infrastructure. The recent European austerity gave UEFA the idea of spreading the action a little wider for the tournament that will mark the 60th anniversary of what started life as the European Nations' Cup.

"We are extremely proud to see the huge interest in the bidding process," UEFA president Michel Platini (the star of the 1984 tournament) said on the UEFA website. "More than half of our member associations are willing to host matches at Euro 2020. The finals will be a great celebration of football across the European continent, and the 60th anniversary edition will be truly special, by really coming to the doorstep of all football fans."

The committee will decide by September 2014 on the successful 13 host cities. The standard hosts will stage three group games and a knockout stage match, while one city will be chosen to stage both semi-finals and the final.

This gives potential host cities a whole year to lobby UEFA and wine and dine UEFA officials at lavish expense. This is the way that football officials have always like the bidding process for major tournaments to be conducted.

From the UK, England, Wales and Scotland have all shown willing to stage matches, at Wembley, the Millennium Stadium and Hampden Park respectively. Spain, still smarting from Madrid losing the Olympics, has entered no less than four cities, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. France surprisingly, snubbed Paris and entered Lyon instead.

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