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Hosting UEFA competitions: a gift for the future of football

Members About UEFA

As the 2023 European Under-21 Championship finals kick off, we look at how hosting the tournament will leave a powerful legacy for the game’s growth in both Romania and Georgia.

The new Steaua stadium, one of the U21 EURO venues
The new Steaua stadium, one of the U21 EURO venues FRF

UEFA’s competitions are not just a showcase for technical excellence and tactical innovation on the pitch. They also provide a priceless opportunity to improve infrastructure at all levels of the game and develop mutually beneficial partnerships between national football associations and local, regional and national governments.

This type of cooperation forms a central pillar of UEFA’s football development strategy, which will see the HatTrick programme distribute over €775 million of men’s EURO revenue to our 55 member associations over the 2020–24 period.

The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) is well versed in the wider benefits that come with the staging of UEFA competitions, with EURO 2020 the most recent example.

"The material legacy of EURO 2020 offers us a sports infrastructure that enables us to compete with the most powerful countries in Europe in the organisation of major sports events. That could not have been achieved without organising this tournament," said Răzvan Burleanu, FRF president.

Public investment, infrastructure and intellectual legacies fall into four main areas:

Top-level stadiums

• Four EURO 2020 matches were played in Bucharest’s National Arena, which was fully refurbished for the tournament.

• The Under-21 Championship matches in Bucharest will be played in two brand-new stadiums, Steaua and Giulești. Along with the Arcul de Triumf facility, they comprise a total stadium investment in Bucharest of over €55 million.

Aerial view of the new Giulești stadium
Aerial view of the new Giulești stadiumFRF

Grassroots infrastructure

• Across the country, 400 football pitches are being built as part of community sports facilities, equipped with floodlight systems, dressing rooms and small stands. The project is funded by the national government of Romania and delivered in consultation with the FRF to provide playing opportunities for as many people as possible.

• To date, construction is under way on 80 large facilities, each with two football pitches, and 60 smaller ones with one pitch each.

• In addition, six facilities will be specially designed for blind football, of which two are already in operation.

Romanian children play at a grassroots event
Romanian children play at a grassroots eventFRF

Experience and know-how

• The entire Under-21 project team in Romania were part of the EURO 2020 local organising structure and have transferred that knowledge and expertise into getting the maximum return from this summer’s tournament.

Public services

• Hosting EURO 2020 matches in Bucharest provided the incentive for the refurbishment of Băneasa Airport and the opening of a new rail link between Otopeni Airport and the city centre.

• These investments by the national government have served to make Bucharest an even more attractive proposition for tourism, business development and the hosting of major international events.

For the FRF general secretary, Radu Vișan, the Under-21 EURO offers a prime opportunity to further enhance the country’s capacity to stage big events. "After hosting EURO 2020, we are fully confident that we can deliver the full package of a major competition, from operating, security, marketing, and communication plans to the training of volunteers, waste management and the implementation of anti-racist and anti-discrimination programmes," he said.

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