Euro 2020

Penalties, shirt numbers, interviews and more: the European Championship rules in detail

The tournament’s rulebook consists of approximately 19,000 words written on 64 pages

Monday, March 2, 2020

Penalties, shirt numbers, interviews and more: the European Championship rules in detail

‘Dura lex, sed lex’. It goes without saying: an official rulebook exists for the upcoming European Championship from 12 June to 12 July 2020, a tournament which will be held across the continent for the first time. This rulebook consists of approximately 19,000 words written on 64 pages. While it’s common knowledge that a win results in three points and head-to-head records take precedence over goal difference when teams finish level on points, there are some rules which are perhaps easy to overlook or which football fans are less aware of. Let’s delve deeper.

TROPHY. The Henri Delaunay Cup, the official European Championship trophy that the winners receive at the end of the final, will remain in the possession of UEFA after the ceremony. Indeed, the winning team shall take home a replica of the same dimensions which can’t leave the country of the victorious association without the written consent of UEFA.

40 gold medals will be given out to the winners, while the same number of silver medals shall be handed out to the runners-up. These will be distributed to players and staff at the discretion of the respective teams. Every side taking part in the final tournament will receive a commemorative plaque.

IT COULD ALL COME DOWN TO PENALTIES. If two National Teams facing each other on the last matchday of the group stage have identical records and the game then finishes in a draw, penalties will decide who finishes higher in the standings (unless there’s another team on the same number of points, in which case the normal rules apply).

This is yet to happen in the final tournament, although it nearly did when the Czech Republic faced Turkey in Geneva in 2008. With the teams level on points in second place going into the game (back when the Euros consisted of 16 sides and only the top two from each group went through), Turkey came from 2-0 down to equalise through Nihat Kahveci three minutes from time. Just as it looked like spot-kicks would be required, the same man netted again two minutes later to put paid to this.

TAKE TWO. If a game is cancelled or can’t be completed, the full or remaining match time will, as a rule, be played the next day, preferably in the same stadium. A match which is suspended part of the way through shall continue from the same time it initially came to an end (with the same scoreline and the ball in the same spot). The teams involved will be allowed to change players for the rearranged match (from those who are in the squad for the tournament of course), although the following must be kept in mind:

- Players substituted or sent off during the abandoned match as well as players suspended for the abandoned match won’t be permitted to play in the rearranged fixture
- A team who had one or more players sent off in the abandoned fixture will remain at the same numerical disadvantage. The teams can make only the number of substitutions to which they were still entitled when the match was abandoned.
- All the bookings received in the abandoned fixture shall remain valid in the rearranged clash.

SUBSTITUTIONS. The UEFA rulebook has changed compared to UEFA EURO 2016 when it comes to substitutions. This summer, teams will still be entitled to make three changes during the 90 minutes but will also be able to make an additional switch if extra time is required. Should a team not make all of their permitted substitutions during the 90 minutes, the number remaining will be carried over to extra time (in addition to the one extra change allowed). For example, if the Head Coach of a team makes one substitution in normal time, he will be able to make three further changes during extra time.

TIME MANAGEMENT. The two teams will need to be at the stadium at least 75 minutes before kick-off, which is also the latest time that the match sheet can be handed to the match officials. Ahead of each match, there will be a countdown, meaning the players will be able to adjust to this during the warm-up and know when to be ready to exit the tunnel. National anthems will be limited to a maximum of 90 seconds.

PASSPORT REQUIREMENT. Although many more teams will be playing ‘at home’ in this edition of the tournament, the players will still need to remember their passports so that their identity and eligibility can be ascertained. Regulation 46.02 states: ‘Each player taking part in the competition must be in possession of a valid passport or identity card of the country for which he is playing, containing a photograph and giving full particulars of his date of birth (day, month, year). Otherwise, he will not be allowed to take part in the competition’.

SHIRT NUMBERS. The 23 players selected in a squad will only be able to wear numbers ranging from 1 to 23. The only requirement will be for a goalkeeper to don the number 1 shirt: the remaining numbers will be decided by the teams themselves. Regulation 56.02 states that ‘In case an outfield player must take the position of goalkeeper during a match, each team must have an extra set of goalkeeper shirts without names or numbers in the same two colours as the regular goalkeeper shirts’.

LIMITED PLACES. A maximum of 18 people will be able to sit in a dugout: twelve players and six team officials, including the team doctor. Both teams will also be entitled to (should space allow) five additional seats for association staff providing technical support to the team during the match. These places will need to be positioned at least five metres from the bench but with access to the changing rooms.

INTERVIEWS. The duties of a player won’t just come to an end after the final whistle. One player from each team and the two Head Coaches will be required to speak to the host broadcaster or the main audiovisual rights holder from their respective countries. The ‘super-flash interview’ will either take place on the grass or pitchside.

Furthermore, the Head Coach and at least four ‘key players’ (those who have played a decisive role during the match, with this including the official Man of The Match) from each team need to make themselves available to all to all audiovisual and audio rights holders within 15 minutes of the final whistle.

The Head Coaches will also have to hold a post-match press conference no later than 20 minutes after the game. Furthermore, after they’ve got changed, the players will need to pass through a ‘mixed zone’ located between the changing rooms and the team coach. Here, the press will wait to conduct interviews with the players from behind a barrier. After this, the players will be free to leave.

OFFICIAL NAME. The official name of the tournament we’ll follow in the summer is the UEFA European Football Championship 2018-20. It will, however, be more commonly referred to as ‘UEFA EURO 2020’.