National leagues are on their hiatus at this time of the year, which leaves us with only the 2021 European Championship to follow
Photo: "EURO 2020 official ball, Uniforia, dark background" by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The vast majority of national and local leagues are on their hiatus at this time of the year, which leaves us with little more to follow than the 2021 European Championship. The tournament begins on Friday; lasting for a month. It’ll fill the gap too, with some high-profile matches. And, without a doubt, some surprises and some disappointing results are in store too. The most likely winners and losers have been discussed before. The odds are listed everywhere from Vwin to your friendly neighbourhood tipster too. But there are things about the upcoming event that you probably didn’t know.

2021 European Championship: It’s big business

We all know that football is big business. It’s probably the most lucrative sport ever invented. An event the size of the European Championship generates a lot of revenue from anything between sponsorship fees and the sale of broadcast rights. According to UEFA, this year’s event alone is expected to earn around 2.5bn (billion) euros (around £2.16bn).

The teams that will be stepping on the turf tomorrow will get their fair share of the purse, of course. All the teams that make it into the top 24 receive close to £8m for taking part. During the group stage, each win is worth close to £1.3m. Each draw, meanwhile, is worth close to £650,000. Each stage a team reaches adds cash to the total; between £1.75m for reaching the Round of 16 and £4.3m for reaching the semifinals. Finally, the runner-up receives around £6.5m. And the winner? Well, that’s around £8.6m. So, the team that wins the tournament will head home with almost £30m.

It’s green, and not so much

UEFA, like many other international organisations, does its best for its events to be as eco-friendly as possible. The governing body for European football is pledging to offset the ill effects  of this tournament by planting 600,000 trees across all the host cities.

And there is a lot to offset. According to an estimate, holding the matches in 12 host cities (in 2020, that is) would mean around 2 million extra plane trips for the teams, staff, and officials. While limits on attendance in most countries reduce this number considerably, this still leaves the event with a considerable carbon footprint.

Although UEFA claims that its measures are more than enough to cancel out the environmental effects of the event, climate activists disagree; many of them considering the science to be a bit off.

It’s an anniversary

The UEFA European Championship – or its precursor, the European Nations’ Cup – is the idea of Henri Delaunay; he the former secretary-general of the French Football Federation. Delaunay proposed a pan-European tournament as early as 1927. Unfortunately, he didn’t see his dream become a reality; the tournament started in 1958, and Europe’s top national teams first met in France in 1960. The trophy handed out at the European Championship bears his name to this day, however. It’s called the Henri Delaunay Cup.

Last year would’ve marked the 60th anniversary of the first edition of the tournament. Then-president Michel Platini called it a “romantic” one-off to celebrate the tournament’s “birthday”. Unfortunately, the pandemic spoiled the moment, pushing the tournament to this year instead.

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