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Soccer

UEFA to choose 13 host cities in 13 countries for Euro 2020

European football's governing body UEFA has announced plans for the 2020 edition of the European Championship, to be held in 13 cities in 13 countries across the continent. Venues are to be chosen in September 2014.

The UEFA Executive Committee released the details on Friday after its first meeting of 2013 at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland. This was the first official announcement after the idea was initially agreed to by UEFA last month.

Each host country is to have one venue, with 24 teams from six groups playing in two cities. Each host team is to have two home games, with the 12 countries also getting a round of 16 or quarterfinal game. The final is to be played in a 13th city.

The bidding process is to begin this coming April, with the successful candidates to be announced in September 2014.

Stadiums will have to hold a minimum of 70,000 people to host a semifinal or final match, 60,000 for a quarterfinal match, and 50,000 for round of 16 or group stage matches, though UEFA did say two exceptions could be made for the opening two rounds to allow stadiums with capacities as small as 30,000. Construction on any potential new venues must be completed by 2016 to be considered for the tournament.

General view of the Olympic Stadium during the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Berlin, Germany, 16 August 2009. EPA/RAINER JENSEN +++(c) dpa - Report+++

Berlin's Olympic Stadium, home of the 2006 World Cup Final, could be Germany's host venue

On Tuesday, the president of the German Football Association (DFB), Wolfgang Niersbach, told the German weekly Sport Bild that Berlin, Munich, Dortmund and Stuttgart could be potential host cities.

The tournament's new format, expected to be a one-off, will differ from the standard one or two host countries. Poland and Ukraine jointly hosted the most recent edition of the competition last summer.

UEFA President Michel Platini first brought up the idea during Euro 2012 in June, and the governing body agreed to a pan-European Euro 2020 in December.

Most of UEFA's 53 members approved of the plan, the organization said last month. But one country, Turkey, which had hoped to host the entire tournament, objected.

Platini has said that with the tournament's increase from 16 to 24 teams in 2016, the financial burden of hosting the tournament would increase significantly. In addition to reducing costs, the Europe-wide Euro 2020 is to be used to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first European Championship.