The tournament slogan Le Rendez-Vous and preparations for the event were on the agenda for the latest meeting of the UEFA EURO 2016 steering committee in Marseille on Thursday.
For this fourth meeting of the steering committee, held at the Marseille City Hall, UEFA President Michel Platini unveiled the competition's slogan – UEFA EURO 2016: Le Rendez-Vous. "It is truly a 'Rendez-Vous' for France and for football," he explained. "A 'Rendez-Vous' is something that is very romantic, and it is a word that is well-known in other countries. You speak to people from abroad about a 'Rendez-Vous' and they know exactly what it means. It translates the notion of a welcome very well."
The steering committee, which met for the first time in 2011, comprises the stakeholders in the event – UEFA, the French Football Federation (FFF), the French government and the host cities. It is chaired by Jacques Lambert, who was also in charge of the organising committee for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. At their meetings, the stakeholders exchange information and discuss and propose solutions concerning strategic organisational matters.
On Thursday the committee discussed the state of progress of the preparation of stadiums which will play host to the competition. The FFF also presented the projects supporting and promoting the tournament. The French sports minister, Valérie Fourneyron, announced the nomination of an inter-ministry delegate for major sporting events (DIGES) who will be responsible for overseeing the matter.
"The meeting was a very good one," said Michel Platini. "There is a remarkable atmosphere of cooperation between the French government, the FFF and UEFA under the guidance of Jacques Lambert, the EURO 2016 SAS president. In France, things always go well. The Stade Vélodrome is exceptionally nice, notably with this marvellous roof, which I have rarely seen in other stadiums. Bravo to the city of Marseille. The stadium will be magnificent when it is finished."
"We see significant progress at each steering committee meeting," said Mrs Fourneyron. "Today everything is in place to guarantee a major success for football, for French football and French sport. State resources will more than meet the required objectives to ensure that EURO 2016 is a great success. And what is also important is the legacy which the competition will leave behind in the different host cities and beyond.
"This is an opportunity to say to the four corners of the planet that France will meet the challenge and that the welcome will be very good. This is the commitment that has been made by the various cities, the government and this steering committee."
The various stadiums that are either being built or renovated for the EURO are following their course and will be ready for the kick-off. "Every site is progressing normally and schedules are being kept, even if the preparations for certain sites are easier in some places than in others," said Mr Lambert. "Nevertheless, at this stage, there is no particular reason to be worried. Three stadiums are already finished and work on two others – Marseille and Saint-Etienne – will be completed during 2014. The others will gradually follow in 2015."
"In 2009, when France put itself forward as a candidate to stage this competition, Marseille did not hesitate," said Jean-Claude Gaudin, mayor of Marseille, expressing his pleasure about the renovation work and roof covering the Stade Vélodrome, which is due for completion in 2014. "Football is an important aspect of social cohesion.
"Marseille enjoys a football tradition that is part of its culture. Our ambitions are materialising with this magnificent stadium, which will be an urban jewel. We have invented a stadium of the future – a stadium for the next 50 years."
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