2016: a thrilling summer for Europe
This summer, all eyes are on Europe. We will witness the clash of the titans, opposing sides will battle it out until ultimately one will be declared victor. We will continue to see a bizarre and interesting mix of characters put under pressure until they show their true colours and, the eventual result could change the course of history. And no, we’re certainly not talking about the EU referendum – we’re on about the far more exciting Euro 2016!
From 10th June until 10th July 2016, France plays host to the most important football championship in the European calendar. Spain comes to the tournament as the team to beat, as the two-time defending champions. The Spanish side will join 23 other national teams and together the continent will showcase the talent of 552 football players during 51 matches.
The French tournament will see 24 teams battle it out, with UEFA taking the decision to significantly increase the national teams involved in the event from 16. This will be the third occasion that France has hosted the Euros, having done so previously in 1960 and 1984.
A cause for French national pride and frustration, it is 16 years and counting since the national team have won this tournament, with past French teams scooping the title twice in 1984 and 2000. This summer France will be looking to channel the home advantage and secure the treble. Indeed, the cost of securing home advantage and hosting this year’s prestigious tournament is predicted to cost a princely sum of 2.12bn Euros in total.
Matches will be played in 10 stadia in ten French cities – Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse – with an average venue capacity of 48,800 people. The largest venue is the Stade de France with 80,000 seats and at the other end of the scale, the smallest venue, the Stadium de Toulouse, has a capacity of 33,000. The stadium construction programme itself has cost 1.66bn Euros, with an additional 40m Euros for modernising existing stadiums. This is surely a crucial investment as 2.5 million fans are predicted to descend on the 10 venues to support their respective national teams. In total, an estimated seven million people are expected to flood the fan zones in the host cities while the tournament goes on.
With such a large influx of people arriving for the Euros, France has made a commitment to security with a 24m Euros influx of capital invested in this area and 100,000 dedicated police and security personnel. This year’s tournament will see fan zone security involving perimeter seals, body searches at entrances, video surveillance, a ban on bags and private guards patrolling inside.
You might naturally be asking: how does the cost of this tournament compare to other international tournaments? Poland and Ukraine were France’s European Championship predecessors, jointly hosting the Euros in 2012. As well as showcasing sporting prowess, this tournament was a catalyst for infrastructure improvements in both of the Eastern European countries. It is estimated that 73% of Ukraine’s UEFA Euro 2012 funds were invested in the transport networks of the country, while Poland spent £21bn on modernising transport links and infrastructure. It is difficult to draw a comparison between France and Poland’s infrastructure, but it is interesting to note that France’s bill for investment in infrastructure was a much smaller amount of 400m Euros for this championship.
The cost of the French tournament pales in comparison to the gasp-inducing projected costs of the Rio 2016 Olympics, which allegedly has risen by over $100 million and is reportedly 16 times higher than the budget to combat the Zika virus in the area. However, the cost of both the French and Brazilian tournaments is in stark comparison to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics which came in at £528m under budget, with a total revised cost to £8.77bn.
As unlikely it was for Leicester City to win the English Premier League, it may inevitably seem that the odds will be against the English side this summer. But you may be surprised to learn that the highest scoring team in the Euro 2016 qualifying games was England, scoring 31 goals in total. So perhaps England’s man of the moment, lucky charm and record-breaking striker Jamie Vardy will bring it home for England?!
Come what may, whatever happens on and off the pitch, Europe has an interesting summer ahead!
To see the full extent of the cost for the EUROs 2016 check out our infographic below. Click the image to open it fully in your browser, then save it, share it, and spread Euro fever!
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