UEFA President Michel Platini and French Football Federation counterpart Noël Le Graët spoke of their UEFA EURO 2016 hopes after the event logo and visual identity were unveiled.
UEFA President Michel Platini unveiled the logo and visual identity for UEFA EURO 2016 in Paris on Wednesday, saying he hoped the tournament would be "a massive success" just as it proved in 1984.
Mr Platini was joined by French Football Federation (FFF) president Noël Le Graët and Jacques Lambert, president of EURO 2016 SAS, and numerous dignitaries at the Espace Cambon Capucines in the French capital to give fans a first glimpse of the logo, which was inspired by the idea of 'celebrating the art of football'.
The design incorporates the Henri Delaunay Cup, which Mr Platini lifted as captain of the triumphant France side crowned European champions on home soil in 1984.
"Exactly 29 years ago, France organised the EURO for the second time and it was a massive success," the UEFA President said. "Well, there were some great, great footballers around at the time," he continued, raising a knowing laugh from the audience. "I hope the result will be the same 32 years later."
The logo, which was revealed after a dynamic multimedia presentation featuring the crowning moments of EUROs past, adds a dash of extra colour to a tournament which will be the most cosmopolitan yet. When it starts on 10 June 2016, some 24 countries – increased from the 16 participating teams at UEFA EURO 2012 – will play at ten venues across France with the aim of reaching the final at the Stade de France on 10 July.
"In the context that we're in, the strengthening of the idea of Europe is also very symbolic. What we wish is that EURO 2016 is a lot more than just a simple football tournament," Mr Lambert told the audience, which included representatives of the host cities (Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse). "Through the festivities leading up to it, and through the whole nation getting behind it, it will be an event that leaves its mark – just as 1984 and especially 1998 [the FIFA World Cup in France]."
Mr Le Graët added: "It's a great moment for France. We want to make people feel, in our towns and our villages, that this sport brings people together, to show that an event like this is for everyone."
Fans already got a feel for the osmosis between the hosts' rich cultural heritage and the football that will reign throughout the championship when a giant replica of the Henri Delaunay Cup shared pride of place on the Champ de Mars alongside the Eiffel Tower on Sunday and Monday.
Paris's most iconic monument was among a wealth of French cultural motifs, from cycling to haute cuisine, celebrated during the presentation – and with some 2.5 million people expected to participate in the tournament in some capacity, including one million from abroad, Lambert said the football would not be the only attraction.
"Each time that we speak to our friends in Europe about organising EURO 2016, they talk about those specific elements. They'll come not only to see one or more of the 51 matches, but to experience living in France during that period."