By Brian Homewood
LAUSANNE, Dec 6 (Reuters) - The European Championship in 2020 will be staged in cities across the continent to spread the financial load of hosting the tournament, European soccer's governing body UEFA said on Thursday.
The idea was first aired by UEFA president Michel Platini at the end of Euro 2012. Three of the last four European Championships have been staged in two countries although it was traditionally held in one.
UEFA said it had consulted its member national associations and received an "extremely positive" response.
"The UEFA 2020 final tournament will be staged across the continent in various major cities through Europe following a decision taken today," said UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino following an executive committee meeting.
Platini said in June: "It will be a lot easier from a financial perspective for all the countries.
"If you need to build airports or 10 stadiums in a country - this would be rather easy because it would be one stadium per host city," the Frenchman said. The next Euros, in France in 2016, will comprise 24 teams rather than 16 this year.
The bidding process for 2020 host cities will start early next year and will take around 12 months. Decisions on the host countries are expected in the spring of 2014, Infantino told reporters.
"It (2020) is the 60th anniversary of the European football championship - obviously the fact that the Euro moves to 24 teams bears additional burdens on the host nations, the requirements are becoming bigger and bigger."
"It is a decision only about 2020, it is not going forward for ever," he said. "Today, everything is open."
(Editing by Robert Woodward)
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