UEFA face a legal battle with some of their Euro 2020 hosts as they make contingency plans for the tournament.
A number of the 12 cities are resigned to losing their hosting role due to the impracticality of European travel during the Covid-19 crisis, but are refusing to pull out at this stage because they want compensation from UEFA — not least as they have spent heavily improving facilities and infrastructure.
The European governing body have asked hosts to submit four separate plans for the tournament — covering the range of fan numbers they may be able to accommodate — before they make a final decision on March 5.
UEFA gave their strongest indication yet earlier this week that they will change the format by confirming ticket-holders would receive a refund if matches are moved to a stadium more than 50 kilometres from the original venue.
The FA are confident that England will not lose their hosting role as Wembley is due to stage seven matches including both semi-finals and the final.
As Sportsmail revealed last November, they could be given additional matches if UEFA pursue a slimmed-down version of the competition.
Infantino’s ambitions boosted by peace deal
FIFA president Gianni Infantino is eager to use the peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed earlier this month to push for his long-held ambition of making the 2022 World Cup a pan-Arabian affair.
His proposal to expand the competition to 48 teams with matches held across the region was rejected by FIFA in May 2019. And with less than two years until the tournament is due to start, it is too late to revive that idea.
But Saudi Arabia ending their three-year blockade of Qatar has opened up the possibility of warm-up matches and training camps in neighbouring states.
Infantino was quick to praise the improvement in relations on a visit to Saudi earlier this month, referring to the World Cup as a ‘unique opportunity for the entire region to unite and shine on the global stage’, with talks about staging build-up events in Saudi, Kuwait and Bahrain expected to follow.
TV giants won’t roll over
Sky Sports and BT Sport will resist any attempt by the Premier League to roll over their contracts for another year, in an attempt to create a more competitive market for the next rights cycle.
The current TV deals expire at the end of next season and, in ordinary circumstances, the tender process for the contracts would already be under way ahead of an announcement in February.
The Premier League auction has been delayed due to the impact of Covid-19 and fears over the declining value of TV rights, leading clubs to advocate a 12-month postponement with existing…
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