The Municipal Olympic Stadium is a brand-new facility built for the 2015 European Games. Seats 68,000 – during Euro 2020 only the facilities in Rome, Munich and London are Wembley larger. However, in the Wales-Switzerland match for Euro 2020, only a few participants took part. The huge blue terraces of the facility in the capital of Azerbaijan are empty.
This is the result of the logistical absurdity that UEFA decided to do despite many protests and suggestions not to do so, certainly not during the pandemic. Baku is far from all other stadiums of the tournament, which were already scattered over a vast territory of Europe, but, as it turned out, not only it. The match between Wales and Switzerland is the first time that the European Championship will be held in Asia.
We did not have such a situation even during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which was organized entirely in the European part of this huge country. Euro 2020 is only the first major football event in history to be played on two continents. Azerbaijan is a geographical part of Asia, although it belongs to UEFA, like other fully Asian countries (Georgia, Armenia, Israel, Cyprus) or partially (Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan).
The most common geographical boundary between Europe and Asia extends between the Sea of Azov, the Caspian Sea, and the mouth of the Don River, as far as the northernmost Caucasus. There are also variants of the imaginary border that run through Azerbaijan, but they are used much less frequently.
Azerbaijan was one of those countries that led to this strange situation in which the European Championship for the first time in history did not host one or even two hosts. It started in Rome, ends in London, is hosted by 11 countries, among which Romania and Azerbaijan have no representation in this tournament, and Russia is organizing a major event for the second time in a row, which has never happened. Before.
Azerbaijanis were very keen to host such a sporting event and even When there were ideas to change the previous UEFA decision, they protested the most. As a result, we not only have the European Championships in Asia, but also in a semi-dead stadium, without an audience and in a dangerous atmosphere, with strong heat. For the Welsh and Swiss fans, the trip to Baku was very difficult logistically, the restrictions were very large, so little came out of them. In addition, Switzerland has the longest flights during the tournament – from Baku to Rome and back. In this regard, they have bypassed even Poland, which flies between St. Petersburg and Seville.
In Baku, the frustrating appearance of the empty stands could change in the upcoming matches, when the Turkish national team comes here to play first against Wales (June 16) and then against Switzerland (June 20). Azerbaijanis and Turks are friends, and they are basically one nation.
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