IT’S GOOD NEWS that the Nordic football associations are considering making a joint-bid for either Euro 2024 or 2028. The region has been under-used by UEFA and FIFA, hosting one European Championship in 1992, one World Cup in 1958 (neutral Sweden after WW2) and three European Cup-Winners Cups (Goteborg, Copenhagen and Stockholm).
The plan is for a four-country approach, with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden involved. Given that UEFA have, disastrously, opted for a pan-European competition for 2020 (which will include Copenhagen) four seems a magic number. But expectations may have to be tempered around crowd potential of such a format.
Scandinavia does not have a plethora of big football stadiums, largely because they don’t need them in normal circumstances. Consider the average crowds for domestic football in these countries:
To put it into context, Nordic attendances are League One level in England. Assuming that the competition is likely to take place across Copenhagen, Stockholm, Goteborg, Oslo, Trondheim and Helsinki, the question is will this be enough for such a competition? There will be 10 locations for 2016, the first 24-team structure and there were eight in 2012 and 2008 (16 teams).
As for stadiums, Sweden has the 50,000 capacity Friends Arena (home of AIK Stockholm) and Tele 2 Arena with 30,000. Malmo’s Swedbank Stadium holds 24,000 and then it’s the Gamla Ullevi in Goteborg. Norway has Oslo’s Ullevaal with 28,000 and Trondheim’s Lerkendal with 21,000. Denmark’s offering is really focused on Copenhagen and its two stadiums of note – the Parken (40,000) and Brondby (29,000). As for Helsinki, they just have the 40,000 Olympic Stadium.
The last time a major competition was held in the region in 1992 saw average crowds of 29,000 that is small when compared to 2012 (46,000), 2008 (37,000), 2004 (37,000), 2000 (36,000) and 1996 (41,000). When Sweden hosted the World Cup in 1958, the average crowd was 23,000.
Danish Football Association president, Jesper Møller said: “The European Championship is one of the biggest events in the world of football and is great for all of us who love the game. To host one of the largest sporting events have huge implications for all parts of the Danish football and throughout Denmark. Both the fans and supporters but also for clubs, volunteers and others who need help to arrange and to enable a such a big event. This will provide a huge boost for Danish football for many years before and after the European Championship finals.”
But the Nordics will have to beat off competition. Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands and a joint Estonia-Russia bid are all expected for 2024.