Ravaged and Resilient, the Show Goes On

by 24USATVJune 11, 2021, 5 p.m. 23
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But the decision to retain the name spoke, too, to something far deeper. Within UEFA, there was a genuine, deep-seated belief that the European Championship, delayed by a year, would act as a potent symbol of recovery: the event that marked the end of the plague year and the restoration of the world we once knew. To still call it Euro 2020 is to say that now is when we pick up where we left off.

Over the last year, that sentiment has proved remarkably resilient. As early as March 2020, UEFA felt bold enough not only to postpone the event but to set a (provisional) date for when it would be played. As the world convulsed in the first, bare grip of the coronavirus pandemic, the people who organize European soccer were convinced that the whole thing would be done in a year.

And so it has continued. No matter how the circumstances have changed or the ground has shifted beneath its feet, UEFA has pushed on, adamant that this is how, and when, normal will start again.

In May 2020, the organization’s president, Aleksandar Ceferin, was insistent that the tournament would be staged exactly as it should have been, had the world never changed. There would, he said, still be 12 host cities, spread across the continent, just as his predecessor, Michel Platini, had planned it.

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