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Football | Europe

Arsene Wenger © Gallo Images

Wenger salutes Uefa for new Euro plan



Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised Uefa's plan to stage the 2020 European Championship across Europe as "creative", but some of his Premier League counterparts are less receptive to the proposal.

"I'm not against the idea," Wenger said on Friday. "I haven't studied it well enough to give a verdict on it. It has advantages and it has disadvantages.

"The advantage is that the whole (of) Europe would be concerned by the championship.

"The disadvantage is sometimes, when the country organises the European Championship, it's a good opportunity for them to build structures (that) are very useful on new stadiums, new training pitches, new communication facilities.

"It's always a good opportunity to make up-to-date structures for football. In the long term, that's important.

"I find the idea creative. They said the final will possibly be at Wembley, so we will not complain."

In contrast, Aston Villa coach Paul Lambert said he is worried that the plan – which would involve 13 host cities spread out across Europe –will make life difficult for supporters.

"It is quite a bit away, isn't it? But I'm probably not an advocate of it and prefer the format the way it was, set in one country," he said.

"It is expensive as well and isn't going to get any cheaper for fans if they are going to get around different countries."

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce also questioned the need to tinker with the existing format.

"Multiple cities would be an interesting scenario," he said.

"I don't quite know why they want to change it to multiple cities because I don't think there has been anything wrong with the European Championships I have been watching over the past 20 to 30 years.

"I don't know why, unless they think it spreads out the venues and it spreads out the crowds and they get better revenues.

"But I'm not sure that teams travelling all over Europe would be good for the competition."

The Football Association (FA) recently confirmed their interest in having the semifinals and final staged in England.

"Clearly Wembley is incredibly highly thought of by Uefa and it is something we will push for," said FA chairman David Bernstein.

"Uefa want to hold the semifinals and the final on the same ground, or in the same city and I think we would be on their shortlist – but there would be some strong competition.

"The public want it and we'd want it and it would be wonderful to have it here."

The Scottish Football Association have also declared an interest in helping to organise the event.

Uefa's executive committee announced plans for a pan-continental Euro 2020 at a meeting in Lausanne on Thursday.

It would only be a one-off format, however, designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the tournament.

The host cities bidding process will begin in March, with decisions on venues set to be made in early 2014.

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