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Euro 2016 launch

Published on September 16, 2014
Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Paris, September 11, 2014


We’ve all come here together, with our responsibilities – whether it be as Head of State or as urban district and city leaders who are going to play host and are also aware of their responsibilities in this event, and also because you’ve made commitments to sport and these should be honoured – to ensure that Euro 2016 is a success.

So in 17 months’ time, almost to the day, our country will host the world’s third largest sporting event. After football’s World Cup and the Olympic Games, the Euro competition is indeed the third most watched, recognized, eagerly awaited and anticipated event…

France must and will deliver. Firstly, on its 10 stadiums: they will be ready, be they completely new or impressively renovated. These stadiums will offer the teams and the public a tremendous environment for 51 international matches.

France had some catching up – a great deal of catching up – to do with its sports facilities, especially for hosting such events. Thanks to the Euro competition – I thank those who have allowed us to organize this event – we’re going to catch up. It’s an opportunity for France, an opportunity for the cities, an opportunity also for our football. There can’t be great European clubs if there aren’t great stadiums. It’s also an opportunity for our country, since millions of tourists are going to come to the 10 Euro host cities. We hope we’ll be able to project the best possible image. This will require all players, all partners to mobilize. During Euro 2016, France must show its best side and be the finest possible showcase, including for our industries.

In addition to the 10 host cities, others – I believe they’re called “base camps” – are going to be hosting the 24 national qualifying teams. Already 60 cities in France have put themselves forward. For them too, it’s a major challenge, because a national team doesn’t choose its base camp simply for the beauty of the site. Everything must be guaranteed, i.e. the training conditions, the creation of a haven necessary for concentration and rest and also facilities for the families and supporters. For the cities which are going to host the 24 national teams, it’s key to attractiveness. For the regions which are going to be chosen, on the tourism side, it’s a challenge.

For us too, at national level, making a success of Euro 2016 is a challenge. We can pride ourselves in our excellent organization when it comes to major events. We travel abroad a lot – ministers, the Prime Minister and I – and we emphasize that France is capable of organizing major events. It’s shown this. I remember the European Championship we organized in 1984 and the World Cup in 1998.
Moreover, the International Basketball Federation has just, unexpectedly, given France the opportunity to host the final phases.
So we know how to organize events. We can even export this “technology”, because it is a technology… provided, here too, we deliver on Euro 2016.

I also want to thank Michel Platini for the confidence he expressed to his partners so that we could organize this great event. Prime Minister, the government departments will therefore be playing an active role when it comes to security, transport, diplomatic services, tourism, young people and sport… The whole government will have to ensure the departments can make Euro 2016 a demonstration of the quality of our public services and of what our public employees can do.

We won’t succeed alone – i.e. the state alone. We need all the players: the local authorities – here, the mayors of the host cities are more especially involved, but there will be many others –, the sports federations, economic partners and cultural industries; digital technology will be considerably developed during this Euro 2016.
And we’ll also be sending out messages.

The first message is about commitment, service and volunteering. What energy, what ability can France show to mobilize young people for such an event to be successful? That’s why civic service and everything related to voluntary work and national education will demonstrate that young people are fully integrated into the event itself, into Euro 2016.

The second message, as I was saying, is technological. In the organization of Euro 2016 we must show that digital technology is going to be fully organized in the competition, in the preparation, in the quality of service. We’ll be able to use these innovations, including for entering the stadiums. We’ll be able to use our mobile phones to enter the stadiums, so as to further improve fluidity and safety and project a high-tech image during this sporting event.

Finally, the last message is about the environment. At the environmental level, we can also be exemplary in terms of the organization of Euro 2016, in the use of transport, in the use of energy and also in the ability to produce a number of resources.

So there you are: France will deliver. In order to do so, it must be united. It is. It’s united through the active role of the state, the local authorities and elected representatives of all persuasions. It’s also united through the public and private stakeholders, united through the active role of sports people themselves and, first and foremost, of the federations. France must be united through this preparation, because we owe it to sport, to France’s image and to the Republic.

Finally, the only thing we ourselves can’t prepare is how Team France performs. One man in particular is responsible for that, and he’s here with us: Didier Deschamps. You’re also aware of how much confidence we’re placing in you! There too, I’m sure, we’ll also deliver. Thank you./.

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