• June 15, 2023
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Germany’s Chancellor marks Euro 2024 countdown

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf speaks alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after marking the one-year countdown to the 2024 Euro Championship at the Chancellery Garden on Wednesday.—Reuters

BERLIN: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday marked the start of the one-year countdown towards Euro 2024 by unveiling a competition he called a “home game for Europe” — an event the hosts hope will be an example of sustainable organisation.

Germany will host the tournament between June 14-July 14, 2024 across 10 cities with no new stadiums required to be built.

“I am happy we are all here to start the excitement and that it all works out and we achieve also good results,” Scholz said.

The Chancellor, holding up a shirt with the slogan ‘a home game for Europe’, was accompanied by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, German football association (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf and tournament director Philipp Lahm among other, in the chancellery garden and with the trophy in front of them.

Germany has an abundance of venues that regularly host international events, from Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena to Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park, both of which will be renamed for the tournament.

Allianz Arena, which will be renamed as the Munich Football Arena during the tournament, will host matches for the second consecutive Euros after being the sole German venue during the pan-European staging of Euro 2020 that was held in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Gelsenkirchen, Leipzig and Berlin will also host matches next year.

“This will be a very special European men’s championship because we can deploy structures that are already there,” Scholz said. “That is something special, that there is no need to build everything. The stadiums are there, the public transportation can handle the large numbers.”

DFB boss Neuendorf also saw great potential benefits for amateur clubs with his association the largest in the world with more than seven million registered members.

“It is important for the sport in Germany overall. We tend to focus strongly often on professional football… but this tournament must go wide and especially the 25,000 clubs we have in Germany. This excitement has to spill over to the amateurs,” Neuendorf said.

This will be the first major football tournament in the country since the 2006 World Cup which sparked a wave of enthusiasm across the country and is fondly remembered as the ‘summer fairytale’.

More than a million people were pouring into fan zones across the country to watch the matches.

West Germany hosted the European Champi­onship in 1988.

The tournament’s final is on July 14 in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

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