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Stadiums to be EURO centrepiece

Stadiums will be a major focus of attention at UEFA EURO 2020, and must have the best possible facilities and operational conditions available to host matches at the tournament, the first EURO Stadium Operator Workshop has heard.

Participants at the workshop
Participants at the workshop ©UEFA

With 13 months remaining until the 12 UEFA EURO 2020 host stadiums are operationally transferred to UEFA, the first Stadium Operator Workshop at the House of European Football in Nyon focused on establishing a thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties.

The workshop, which was held on 10 and 11 April, was attended by both stadium representatives and LOS (Local Organising Structures) officials from the 12 host cities, and also provided the opportunity for various EURO 2020 projects to formally present their roles, deliverables and responsibilities in advance of the final tournament.

"The stadium is the centrepiece, the main focus of attention, and they need to be at their best to host UEFA EURO 2020," said UEFA Events SA operations director Sharon Burkhalter-Lau, in opening the event. "Everything about the stadium matters and it matters to us.

"Although we have worked closely with the stadiums to create customised solutions for their specific situations, the work ahead now is to create consistency of experience for the spectators and all the parties working at the stadiums," she added.

"The spectators need to have the same expectations in relation to the bag policy, and the working staff need to have the certainty that the same procedures apply across the venues."

Over and above the record quantity of spectators attending matches at UEFA EURO 2020, 140,000 accreditations, 2,300 hospitality guests per match and 1,000 volunteers per venue will need to be accommodated during the finals, and these numbers illustrate the scale of this complex operation.

It is anticipated from a venue management perspective, that successful functioning of stadiums can only be achieved through thorough planning such as the creation of scaled overlay maps and plans, to on-site venue preparation masterplans and working visits. To date, three working visits have been completed per venue, with two more visits still to be scheduled in Summer 2019 and Spring 2020, in order to ensure a seamless service for all UEFA stakeholders throughout the entire preparation phase.

"A challenge for venue operations is to keep the balance between the different entity's expectations and deliveries," said Andreas Schär, UEFA Events SA head of venue operations. "Another challenge is the distance, and because the venues are in 12 different countries, quick fixes are now more difficult to implement than in France for EURO 2016."

The workshop also provided the platform for an information exchange between stadium operators who face different challenges in their individual markets, and the opportunity to learn from past experiences. Having helped to deliver UEFA EURO 2016, Pierre Duprat, who acted as head of events at the Stade de Lyon during the last UEFA European Championship, presented the challenges and key learnings faced in 2016.

"Important areas to consider are employees, accreditations, access/deliveries, media requirements and the availability of office space," he advised. "But by hosting matches at UEFA EURO 2016, in Lyon we have had the opportunity to also improve the stadium's infrastructure. This has also allowed us to be prepared for the unforeseen, but this could only have been achieved through constant and consistent communication between the UEFA venue team present on site and the stadium operator.

"This was the recipe for success for us when operating the stadium in 2016, and it remains the case when hosting an event on this scale."