Saturday 15 June 2024 Abu Dhabi UAE
Prayer Timing
Today's Edition
Today's Edition
Sports

UEFA chief hopes for Euro 2024 success amid geopolitical tensions

UEFA chief hopes for Euro 2024 success amid geopolitical tensions
10 June 2024 17:11

LONDON (WAM)

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is looking forward to a classic football tournament in one country and hopes that Euro 2024 in Germany can help break down barriers amid a "violent" geopolitical situation.

The head of Europe's governing football body told German news agency DPA in an interview in a London hotel that there are no concrete security concerns ahead of Friday's start of the month-long tournament in 10 German cities.

"We don't have any concrete security issues. But the security issue for me is a violent geopolitical situation in the world," he said. "More and more violence. More and more aggression. The situation is not ideal in the world in principle."

Ceferin hopes for a celebration of the sport after pan-European 2021 edition and the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Germany as host

Germany will be hosting a fourth major men's tournament following the 1974 and 2006 World Cups, and Euro 1988, and Ceferin is convinced the hosts will do a good job. "Now we have a classical tournament in a country with lot of advantages. Infrastructure is good. Germans are always good organisers. It is easy to come to Germany. I think it will be a festival of football," he said.

Ceferin said that the 11-country edition three years ago "was complicated by itself" although "in the end it was nice." He added, "I don't think that this kind of tournament should be done again in the future."

Security is a top issue

Ceferin said it was good to have the Euros in one host country again. "It's much easier for us to work with one police and one secret service in one country compared with a tournament in more countries," he said.

“It's always a challenge to organise a huge event like the Euro, due to the increased safety and security considerations. In this aspect, it is probably a bigger challenge than organising the Olympic Games. And we work well with the German authorities.”

Hopes for a celebration of football

"Football is one of the rare things that can still bring people together. I am sure about that." People are patriotic when they watch sports events. Otherwise, we criticize everything, all the time, all of us. I really think this could be a big festival of friendship," he said.

Ceferin said that 52 million requests from around the world for 2.7 million tickets highlighted the excitement.

Favourite teams

He backs German team to do well. Looking at the sporting side, he rates hosts Germany highly despite flopping at recent big events, with a good showing of the home team also good for the whole tournament.

"I said to many of my friends: I don't know why, but I see German team as one of the top favourites. They played quite lousy the past years. But they have a good team. And after the friendly match with France [in March] I saw a different spirit," he said.

"I always say: Never underestimate Spain. There are always Belgium, Netherlands, maybe Denmark too. But Germany, France, England, Portugal are the main favourites in my opinion."

Ceferin welcomed that Ukraine managed to qualify, saying its team plays "impressive football" and “could be one of the surprises of the Euro".

Copyrights reserved to Aletihad News Center © 2024