This week sees the Kick off of one of the biggest sporting events in the world and the start to a summer of sport! This is of course the European Football championship, the 14th European tournament to be played since the tournament started in 1960 and will see the 16 nations who made it through the qualifying rounds contend in Poland and Ukraine to become the European football champions.
The UEFA European Football Championship was first proposed in 1927 by Henri Delaunay, a French football administrator; however it was not until 1960 that the first championship occurred, Three years after Henri’s death. As a tribute to him the winners lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy which has received a modern redesign for this year’s championship. A lot has changed since the tournament was first held in France in 1960, back then the Soviet Union won the competition and Yugoslavia came runners up with Czechoslovakia coming third. Televisions have become a mainstay of the modern home which combined with the internet and websites such as YouTube and Facebook has meant that games can be analysed, discussed and replayed constantly. Cheaper travel has also the seen the travelling army of fans increase bringing an international feel to cities lucky enough to host the event.
This year Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine, will all contend for the chance to win the European Championship.
Unfortunately, the event has already been marred by allegations of racism, anti semitism and xenophobia, which has seen governments and sports personalities alike calling for people to take “extra care” if planning on visiting the football stadiums.
With a summer of sport lined up including Euro 2012, the Olympics and the Paralympics, which country will you be supporting?