An outstanding event
The Council of the European Athletics Association (AEA) chose Paris as the host city for the 26th edition of the continental event.
The European Championships will take place from 26 to 30 August 2020 at Charléty Stadium.
This decision is historic. Despite its rich history as a host country for major international events – the 2003 World Championships at the Stade de France at the top of the list – France has only once organised the European outdoor championships. Back in 1938, the event was celebrating its 2nd edition and only men were allowed to compete. There were 272 male athletes from 23 nations who pushed the door of the Olympic stadium in Colombes.
The success of the French bid for 2020 has been built with rigour and know-how. From the beginning of the process, the FFA (French Federation of Athletics) relied on a bid committee, with Pierre Weiss, former IAAF General Secretary, at its head.
Along with the FFA, many institutions have been involved in the bid: the Ministry of City, Youth and Sports, the Ile-de-France Region, the City of Paris and the National Centre for the Sport Development, the Charléty Stadium and the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. This support was extremely valuable to build the bid.
The Organising Committee
Athletes and former athletes are on the front line. Three of them are part of the organising committee: Marie-José Pérec, in charge of the relations with the participating countries, Yohann Diniz and Eunice Barber. “These European Championships will allow those who will succeed during the Tokyo Olympic Games to share their emotion and their medal with the French public,” says Yohann Diniz, who will not be competing in Paris since race walking is not part of the programme of the continental meeting when in an Olympic year. “For young French athlete or for those who did not achieve the expected results in Tokyo, it will be another opportunity to shine at home, with the audience supporting them”. Marie-José Pérec shares the same enthusiasm. The three-time Olympic champion hopes that the competition will be a “very beautiful showcase for the development of athletics”. And finally, Eunice Barber focuses on “passing on to the new generation”.
Photos ©Jean-Marie HERVIO-KMSP / Photo Y.Diniz ©Stéphane KEMPINAIRE-KMSP
The 2020 European Championships will bring together the continent’s elite – 1,400 athletes representing 51 nations. The competition will take place from Wednesday 26 August to Sunday 30 August. The FFA has chosen a familiar venue to athletics fans, the Charléty Stadium: it hosted the IAAF Grand Prix Finals in 1994 and 2002. Since 2017, the Paris Meeting, the French stage of the IAAF Diamond League, is organised in Charléty. The capacity of the stadium will be increased for the European Championships up to 19,094 seats, including 15,680 for the general public. A thousand media representatives is expected, including 600 journalists, 300 photographers and 100 commentators.
Sustainable development as one of the priorities
According to its commitments, the Paris 2020 Organising Committee will place the European Championships under the sign of sustainable development.
Through the “Green Inspiration” concept, the Organising Committe is keen to propose an event with a minimal carbon footprint. The distance between the athletes’ village, at the Cité Universitaire, and the Charléty Stadium, is only 5 minutes’ walk. A situation never seen before that will reduce sensibly the environmental impact of the event. Spectators will also be encouraged to favour public transport.
Create a dynamic and a legacy for 2024
Hosting of the European Championships in 2020, France is consolidating its position among the elite of the world’s leading nations in the organisation of major sporting events.
Eco-responsible, inclusive, participative and popular: the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships aim to leave an essential legacy to boost the success of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. For the French sport, “Paris 2020 will also be an important step towards 2024,” declares Patrice Gergès, the national technical director of French athletics. There will certainly be many young people selected. “A great opportunity to inspire the next generation of athletes.