Brussels has unveiled its UEFA EURO 2020 host city logo – and is relishing its pioneering status as one of 13 cities that will stage a historic tournament in four years' time.
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Belgium's love for football and Brussels's proud status as a major centre at the hub of Europe came to the fore when the city launched its UEFA EURO 2020 host city logo on Wednesday.
The impressive Brussels City Hall welcomed guests from UEFA, the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBSFA/KBVB) and the Brussels authorities to celebrate another major step on the road to a unique final tournament that will be hosted by 13 European cities in four years' time.
Brussels is the tenth city so far to unveil its UEFA EURO 2020 host city logo. Each of the 13 logos features a single iconic bridge from the city in question – underlining the tournament's aim of building bridges between nations and fans.
The Brussels logo showcases the Pont Sobieski, an Art Nouveau bridge near the world-famous Atomium building constructed for the Universal Exhibition in 1958.
Belgium's capital will stage three group matches and a round of 16 encounter in 2020, at a new stadium to be constructed near the current Roi Baudouin stadium – the setting for several games at UEFA EURO 2000, successfully co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands.
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin expressed his anticipation in a message to the Brussels event. "Your city is in the heart of Europe," he said, "and will also be at the heart of a very special European Championship. We are looking forward to travelling to Belgium, which has passionate fans and a talented team."
"UEFA is very pleased that the tournament can be held in the European capital," added UEFA fifth vice-president Michael van Praag in his address. "And Belgium is not only good at playing football, but is also good at organising."
"At EURO 2000, Belgium proved that it was capable of organising major tournaments," said Belgian FA president François De Keersmaecker. "Together with Brussels, we are ready to again take on a leading role. EURO 2020 starts today. Everyone in Belgium will be able to be part of it."
EURO Brussels 2020 president Alain Courtois recalled Belgium's pioneering role as a co-host in 2000 – "today we are again pioneers," he said, expressing his excitement at a EURO that will make history.
A group of Brussels schoolchildren dressed in Belgian national team shirts brought the Henri Delaunay Cup – European national team football's premier silverware – into Brussels City Hall.
"These children represent the future," said Guy Vanhengel, minister of the Brussels Capital Region. "Sport brings people together, and this EURO will be a heritage for the generations to come."
"We are proud that Brussels – the beating heart of Europe – is one of the cities to host a EURO taking place throughout Europe," added the mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur.