Last year's FIFA World Cup was unusual. It was the first to take place in a Middle Eastern country, it was surrounded by controversy, and it was filled with upsets after some of the biggest favourites for the title were dropped out by teams considered inferior. Now, in turn, we are preparing for a new football event. The 2024 UEFA European Championship that, for what it’s worth, will be a return to normal. And many of us can hardly wait.
Football in a time of pandemic
2019 and 2020 were some of the toughest times in our lifetime (so far). The uncertainty and the panic caused by the spread of a potentially deadly disease have had a profound impact on our way of life. For football fans, it was even harder, considering that their favourite sport was suspended almost everywhere in the world.
People around the world have been seeking out other gambling opportunities instead of football bets, but this only worked for a while. After all, not even the best online casino games South Africa has for its players can replace the thrill of betting on an exciting football match.
The only national football league to continue as if nothing had happened was the Belarus Premier League - not the first choice for bettors in a normal situation.
The 2020 edition of the UEFA European Championship would’ve been an anniversary edition to celebrate 60 years (actually 62) from the inception of the tournament. Instead of selecting a single host, UEFA decided that the matches would be hosted by several European cities to show the unifying power of football. Originally, the tournament would’ve taken place between the 12th of June and the 12th of July, 2020, at a dozen venues from all over Europe. But the pandemic hit, and things have changed a lot.
Initially, UEFA’s leadership was confident that they could pull the tournament off. But as the pandemic’s impact on football grew, it became clear that they couldn’t. As a result, the 2020 UEFA European Championship was postponed to 2021.
Even in 2021, though, restrictions had to apply to large-scale sporting events. This led to new problems, with UEFA expecting venues to allow access to a minimum guaranteed number of attendees to events, which some countries couldn’t comply with. This is why Dublin was taken off the list of eligible venues, for example, and the matches originally planned to be played in Bilbao were relocated to Seville.
A return to normal
Luckily, the 2024 edition of the UEFA European Championship doesn’t face any restrictions (at this time). Fans will have access to all 11 venues where the matches will be played. Hopefully, we’ll never have to live through another EURO edition with the same uncertainty and turmoil as the one in 2020.