The countdown to Europe’s biggest sporting event is almost over! UEFA EURO 2016™ kicks off in France on 10 June, and to help you get your head in the game we've got ten fun facts about the tournament and a downloadable match calendar.
1. David Guetta will be performing
French DJ and record producer, David Guetta is the musical ambassador. He’s responsible for creating the tournament’s official song, which will be performed at the opening ceremony, and has been tasked with providing tracks for broadcast title sequences around the world. His music will also be played at each stadium to give the tournament a 'musical identity'.
2. There's a cute little mascot
Say hello to Super Victor, the official mascot of UEFA EURO 2016™. He’s a little boy with an international name, whose cape and magic boots allow him to fly, be a football genius and spread football fever wherever he goes. Super Victor will be meeting and greeting fans up and down the country at #MascotteDay events, adding fun and communicating the values of the event: pride, sharing and respect.
3. Some of the ticket proceeds will go to charity
4. The French president has created a special committee
François Hollande created a special committee, 11 Tricolore, to provide additional support and activities around UEFA EURO 2016™ that encompasses the entire country. The committee is made up of eleven experts in various fields, including culture, youth, digital technology, disability, sustainable development, employment, economics and tourism; and they’ll be responsible for turning the event into a nationwide festival of sport.
5. Matches will be played in state-of-the-art stadiums
Hosting the tournament enabled France to launch an ambitious €1.6bn construction and renovation programme for its stadiums. New eco-friendly stadiums were built in Lille, Nice, Bordeaux and Lyon, while existing stadiums in Marseille, Paris, Saint-Etienne, Lens and Toulouse have undergone major renovation. The new stadiums are equipped with a renewable energy system using solar panels, while the majority will also have rainwater collection systems to water the pitches.
6. Thousands of free match tickets will go to young adults
In March 2015 the UEFA Foundation for Children was established, in a bid to enable young people to benefit from football’s role in society. For UEFA EURO 2016™, the foundation is offering 20,000 match tickets to organisations that work with vulnerable groups in France. Each host city will have 2,000 tickets to distribute, which will help preserve the magic of football and give hope to those who need it most.
7. Fans and locals will help organise the event
“For the supporters, by the supporters”. That’s the motto of the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) Fans’ Embassies that will operate a fast, free help service during UEFA EURO 2016™. They’re formed by international fan experts and local volunteers, who provide expertise and know-how to the organisers in the host cities, as well as a 24-hour hotline and practical guides, to make sure the competition runs just as smoothly off the pitch.
8. Stadiums will be completely smoke-free
In an attempt to inform and protect young people from the dangers of passive smoking, UEFA will be working in cooperation with the World Heart Federation and the European Healthy Stadia Network to create a smoke-free environment for all ticket holders, staff and suppliers inside all UEFA EURO 2016™ stadiums. A dedicated team of 110 volunteers have been recruited to deliver this project.
9. Gibraltar took part in the qualifying stages for the first time
For the first time in its history, Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the south coast of Spain, competed in the European Championship qualifying stages. They were one of the 53 teams taking part in the tournament after becoming members of UEFA in May 2013. Despite their team consisting of mostly non-professional players, they made a big impact, but unfortunately did not make it to the finals…this time!
10. It will leave a positive legacy for the future
One of the key words for UEFA this summer is ‘sustainable development’. They’ll be making a strong effort to reduce their environmental footprint by operating in a socially responsible during the tournament. By adopting a three R’s strategy (reduce, re-use, recycle), they aim for a 50 per cent recycling rate, zero waste to landfill and improved awareness among the general public. 80 of the 6,500 volunteers will be in charge of issues relating to waste disposal and transport.