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Jan 25, 2013

13 cities to host Euro 2020

NYON, Switzerland -- UEFA announced the 2020 European Championship will be played in 13 countries, with each host providing a single stadium.

UEFA will encourage smaller countries to join the project by choosing two stadiums holding as few as 30,000 spectators. Other stadiums must have at least 50,000 capacity, and those hosting quarterfinals will need 60,000.

Only 21 of the 53 UEFA member nations have stadiums of 50,000 or more.

UEFA president Michel Platini says Turkey is his favored choice to host the final and both semifinals.

However, Platini says a Turkish bid will be "out of the question" if Istanbul is chosen in September as the host of the 2020 Olympics.

The other 12 Euro 2020 hosts will hold three group-stage matches and one match in the knockout rounds.

Host cities will be chosen in September 2014.

London's Wembley Stadium will bid to stage the semifinals and final and is expected to face rival bids from Rome, Berlin, Madrid and Istanbul.

Host countries will not qualify automatically but if they do, their national team will be guaranteed to play at least two of the three group matches at home, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said.

There will be a maximum of two host teams per group. Infantino said the allocation of hosting teams will take travel distances into account with a maximum flight time of two hours where possible.

UEFA also confirmed the 10 venues for Euro 2016 in France as Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis (Stade de France), Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.

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