The Legal Impact of Hosting the UEFA European Championship

A Focus on EURO 2024 - Author: Yordin Kessels
Credit: UEFA (via


With most European competitions coming to an end, we can slowly start preparing for an exciting summer full of football as all eyes are on Germany as the hosting nation of the EURO 2024. It will be the first time since Germany's political reunification last century that the country is going to host the EURO. After beating Turkey as the only other contender for staging the EURO 2024, the final decision was made on 27 September 2018 in Nyon, Switzerland.[1] A brief look into history tells us that most of the hosting countries have largely been in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe.[2] Therefore, predominantly leaving out Eastern Europe. Is this a coincidence? Or do Eastern European countries simply fail to meet UEFA's set requirements for staging the EURO? And who exactly decides which nation can host the EURO? This article will delve into the legal impact of hosting the most prestigious European championship for nations to date.  

The Bidding Process

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's explore the bidding process. Based on Article 50 of the UEFA Statutes, the Bid Regulations UEFA EURO 2024 (hereinafter referred to as: "the Bid Regulations") have been adopted.[3] This is to ensure a clear and open bidding structure. According to Article 2 of the Bid Regulations, there are three stages to differentiate: an Initiating Phase where member associations can declare their interest to bid, a Bid Dossier Development Phase where each bidder submits its preliminary bid dossier, and finally the Evaluation Phase in which UEFA evaluates all the bids.

Every UEFA member association that is not suspended, may bid to host the EURO, as stated by Article 3.1 of the Bid Regulations. For the bidding process of the EURO 2024, there were no joint bids. Be that as it may, there have been countries who announced doing a joint bid, but in the end didn't submit their bid. For instance, in early 2016, the Scandinavian countries announced their interest in becoming the hosting nations for the EURO 2024.[4] In the case of joint bids, Article 3.2 of the Bid Regulations only allows this from neighboring countries. A salient detail of the Bid Regulations is that UEFA ought Russia's bid to stage the EURO 2028 to be ineligible on the basis of breaching Article 16.2. By invading Ukraine in 2022, Russia acted in a way that brought UEFA and European football into disrepute.[5] The first two phases for staging the EURO 2024 took place between December 2016 and April 2018, as set per the general timeline of Article 7 of the Bid Regulations. The final stage was scheduled for September 2018, in which the final decision would be made. More on the decision-making process later. 

The Bid Requirements 

Meeting all the requirements set out by UEFA to host the EURO, makes for a lengthy process with lots of preparation. The exact requirements are set out in the UEFA EURO 2024 Tournament Requirements, (hereinafter referred to as: "the Tournament Requirements).[6] The Tournament Requirements are roughly to be separated into three different parts: the Tournament Requirements, the Bid Dossier Template, and the Staging Agreement and Undertakings. Going over every single one of the requirements goes beyond the scope of this article. However, in short, the bid requirements are divided into three sections: Global Concept, Infrastructure, and Operations. The staging agreement and undertakings are divided into four sections: Staging Agreement, Stadium Undertaking, Host City Undertaking, and Airport Undertaking. 

It's evident that the Bid Requirements are a set of comprehensive criteria. The aspirant hosting nation needs to prove it's capable of adhering to these criteria. These requirements ensure the staging country can meet the high expectations of efficient transport systems, state-of-the-art stadiums, suitable accommodations, and other operational capabilities for hosting the third biggest sporting event in the world. By way of submitting a Bid Dossier, the member association outlines its ability to fulfill these requirements. Successful bids are then evaluated by UEFA based on their detailed proposals, which must demonstrate readiness and compliance with the tournament's extensive demands. If necessary, UEFA is entitled to invite the bidders for working sessions at its headquarters in Switzerland, according to Article 5.03.

Who Makes the Final Decision?

The final decision is made during the UEFA Executive Committee's voting procedure. But who is on the Executive Committee again? It's the President of UEFA, Aleksander Čeferin, accompanied by 19 other members.[7] Annex A of the Bid Regulations sets out the rules for the voting procedure. The specificity of the voting procedure is subject to the amount of bidders. As we know by now, for the EURO 2024, there were just two bidders: Germany and Turkey. 

In short, according to Article A.4.1, the bidder that gets the most votes shall be selected as the hosting nation. During the voting procedure of the Executive Committee on 27 September 2018, Germany was given 12 votes. Turkey got 4 votes. There was one abstention.[8] According to Article A1.5, a member shall not take part in any bidding procedure, if he's associated with a bidder or in the case of a conflict of interest. In the case of a tie, the UEFA President should cast the decisive vote. With a clear preference for Germany, the President didn't need to intervene with a vote, and as a result of such, the Deutscher Fußball-Bund was delighted with the result.

Anti-Corruption and Compliance

It's noteworthy to highlight the importance of significant anti-corruption efforts in large-scale sports events, such as the EURO 2024. Football has evolved over the past decades and proven to be a billion-dollar industry like no other. Television broadcasters compete with Netflix and HBO, private equity is being pumped into football clubs, and in 2015 the FIFA corruption case came to light. In terms of anti-corruption in football, according to FIFA, the tie has changed. I was fortunate enough to be in Switzerland last month, where I had the opportunity to ask FIFA's Corporate Communications Manager some questions about this topic. She is confident that with Gianni Infantino being the most recent FIFA President, a new wind is blowing in the governing land of football. 

Bidders are invited to apply for anti-corruption standards.[9] These guidelines can be found in a handbook published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The handbook on safeguarding against corruption in major events offers comprehensive strategies to prevent corruption during major public events.[10] It emphasises the importance of a strategic risk management approach, utilizing the United Nations Convention against Corruption to create and enforce anti-corruption measures effectively. The guide highlights specific challenges such as complex logistics, substantial funds, and tight timeframes which increase the risk of corruption, suggesting practical steps for mitigation.  

The Added Value of Cultural Diversity in Europe

Hosting a UEFA European Championship not only makes the hearts of millions of football fans beat faster, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the cultural diversity of Europe. According to UEFA, fans engage with the EURO 2024 across three key elements: Football, Festivity, and Culture.[11] It comes as no surprise that these three elements go hand-in-hand when staging a European Championship. Consequently, according to UEFA, uniting these three elements is the key to success when it comes to developing a compelling fan engagement opportunity. The EURO 2024 highlights the unity and diversity of Europe, fostering a sense of a European identity, whilst respecting national differences. The European Championship serves as a powerful reminder of Europe's heritage. Football unites. 

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, Germany hosting the EURO 2024 showcases the extensive bidding process set out by UEFA and highlights Deutschland's readiness to meet the organisational demands of such a significant tournament. Future UEFA EURO tournaments should continue to prioritize transparency and embrace cultural diversity, celebrating Europe's cultural heritage. Additionally, UEFA could encourage more Eastern European countries to enter the bidding process to broaden regional representation and develop football infrastructure across the continent. 

Date of publication: 29 May 2024


  1. UEFA, EURO 2024: All you need to know (2024). 
  2. UEFA, History (2024). 
  3. UEFA, Bid Regulations UEFA EURO 2024 (2024). 
  4. Reuters, Nordic countries to make joint bid for 2024, 2028 (4 April 2016). 
  5. BBC, UEFA announces further sanctions on Russian clubs and national teams amid Ukraine invasion (2 May 2022). 
  6. UEFA, UEFA EURO 2024 Tournament Requirements (n.d.). 
  7. UEFA, UEFA Executive Committee (n.d.). 
  8. SportsPro, Germany beat Turkey to host Euro 2024 (27 September 2018).
  9. UEFA, UEFA EURO 2024 Tournament Requirements, Sector 03 - Political, Social and Environmental Aspects (n.d.). 
  10. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events (September 2013). 
  11. UEFA, UEFA EURO 2024 Tournament Requirements, Sector 02 - Vision, Concept and Legacy (n.d.). 

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