UEFA Congress 2020: building bridges, connecting football

With more than 250 bridges criss-crossing its historic centre, Amsterdam was the perfect city to host this week's UEFA Congress. By spanning an entire continent, European football's governing body connects 55 member associations, 20 million registered players and hundreds of millions of fans.

UEFA Congress 2020: building bridges, connecting football
UEFA Congress 2020: building bridges, connecting football ©Getty Images

Rich footballing heritage

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Amsterdam's canals and bridges were a fitting backdrop when fans turned the city orange to celebrate their national team's victory at EURO 1988.

"We're proud to be welcoming you all here in this city, where we celebrated and honoured our 1988 European champions on the canals and in the squares."

Just Spee, president of the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), official hosts of the 44th UEFA Congress

Bringing people together

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"Bridges are an integral part of [Amsterdam's] landscape. Not only do they connect the islands that make up the city, they also connect its residents.

"Connecting people is what football does, and that's what makes it more than simply a game."

Bruno Bruins, Minister for Medical Care and Sport – welcoming speech to UEFA Congress members at Amsterdam's Beurs Van Berlage

Football for all

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"Whenever I go to a game at my club, ADO Den Haag, I feel at one with the thousands of other fans. There is no difference between us.  

"Win or lose, we are united. Regardless of your skin colour, regardless of your limitations, regardless of your religion and regardless of your sexual orientation, football brings people together."

Minister Bruins

Inspiring future generations

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Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, EURO 1988 winners with the Netherlands, and Germany's EURO 1996 champion Oliver Bierhoff crossed paths at Amsterdam's Gala Dinner marking the European Championship's 60th birthday.

"Every four years, the EUROs create new memories that inspire a generation of boys and girls to fall in love with our beautiful game. EURO 2020 will do the same.

"For me, this is the real legacy of [EURO founder] Henri Delaunay's dream and the UEFA European Championship."

Ruud Gullit, captain of the triumphant Netherlands side at EURO 1988

Building bridges

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With 12 host countries, including Amsterdam's Johan Cruijff ArenA, hosting UEFA EURO 2020 matches this summer, the tournament's overall theme is 'building bridges'.

"The European ideal will be there for all to see. Twelve countries, 12 stadiums, 24 teams, millions of supporters. And one European destiny."

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin's speech to the 44th UEFACongress

New horizons

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EURO 2020's ground-breaking format means residents of sevenEuropeancities will have their first taste of hosting a match at the UEFA European Championship finals: Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow and St Petersburg.

"With land comes the need for new bridges or you'll never get to the other side and you can never build a new future together. And that is also true for our football.

"Together we must ensure that everyone can enjoy the sport that so many of us are passionate about."

Just Spee, KNVB president