The 2020 European Championship could be hosted by 12 or 13 cities across Europe in a potentially radical change to the world's second biggest football tournament, UEFA President Michel Platini said on Saturday.
Held every four years, the European Championship is second only to the World Cup in global popularity and until 12 years ago was staged in one nation. However, three of the last four editions have been co-hosted by two countries, with Poland and Ukraine staging Euro 2012 in eight cities.
Still, the financial demands on future hosts are set to spiral with UEFA having increased the event from 16 to 24 teams starting at Euro 2016 in France .
Speaking on the eve of Sunday's final between defending champion Spain and Italy , Platini promised: ''This may surprise you.
''We could either have one country with 12 host cities or have it in 12 or 13 cities all over Europe.''
The head of European football's ruling body said a decision would be taken in December or January on how to proceed with his idea. UEFA's executive committee, chaired by Platini, set May 2014 as the final deadline to decide where Euro 2020 will be played.
''It's an idea I feel really passionate about,'' said Platini, who scored nine goals as captain of the winning France team in 1984 when it hosted an eight-team tournament.
He added that ''it will be a lot easier from a financial perspective.''
The burden on host nations can be considerable, and one that's even more difficult to bear during an economic crisis across much of Europe.
Poland and Ukraine had to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure, including new or revamped stadiums, airports, public transport links, communication systems and roads.
''We won't need to build airports, especially at this moment in time when we have an economic crisis,'' Platini said.
Platini had previously acknowledged his unease that Ukrainian cities Kharkiv and Lviv got to host just three matches in return for their investment.