Russia bids to host UEFA Euro 2020 opening match

Russia bids to host UEFA Euro 2020 opening match
Russia has bid for St. Petersburg to host the opening game of the UEFA Euro 2020 championships, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko announced.

The 2020 European championships will be the first to be held under a new pan-continental format which will see games played in 13 cities across Europe.   

"UEFA has started receiving bids for Euro 2020, the selection process has begun. Since we have such an opportunity [to host the opening match], then why not do it? We have placed a bid, offering St. Petersburg as the host city," Mutko said, according to TASS.

"We need to prepare everything in detail, since it is a great responsibility and some work should be done," added Mutko, who is also head of the Russian Football Union.

"I believe that such a city as St. Petersburg deserves to be the venue of this tournament. In my opinion, this city currently has one of the best stadiums in Europe."

St. Petersburg Stadium was officially opened earlier this year, and can seat up to 68,000 fans. It is home to Russian Premier League team Zenit St. Petersburg, and was the venue for the opening game and final of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup held in June-July in Russia. It will also host matches at next year’s FIFA World Cup.

London’s Wembley Stadium has already been confirmed as the venue of the Euro 2020 final. The other cities that will host games at the tournament are Dublin, Glasgow, Bilbao, Rome, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Budapest, Bucharest and Baku. The 2020 championships will be the 60th anniversary of the event. Portugal are the reigning champions, having beaten hosts France in the 2016 final in Paris.