Berlin, June 12th 2020
Had we not been struck by a pandemic, today would have marked the beginning of the European Championship, the international men’s football tournament that dominates a month in the summer every four years. This summer, we won’t experience that strange gratification of indulging in something that’s hardly important, but nevertheless shared among millions following the same rhythm; we won’t get to enjoy the beer-soaked outdoor viewings that are on in every European city; we won’t have that friendly outlet for patriotic emotions and old national rivalries; we won’t engage in a glorious tale of the brave underdogs winning the hearts of Europe; we also won’t get that feeling of disgust after having spent 90 irrevocable minutes watching a 0-0 stand-off; and we won’t experience our excitement dying out and resurging throughout the campaign, until the inevitably anticlimactic final, followed by the knowledge that a month oversaturated with football ultimately made life neither better nor worse.
When we were placed under lockdown, we quickly realised that this would not be that kind of summer, but rather the opposite: travel restrictions, border closings, European nations entering a much more sinister competition with reference to infection rates and death tolls. Faced with this summer scenario, some of us decided to take matters into our own hands and create a tournament that would fit with life under the pandemic. Gathering a pan-European motley crew of writers, journalists, designers, artists, opera directors, and reality TV stars, we set about the task of collectively making up the Euros we were deprived of, pretending that we were travelling around Europe to report on matches in stadiums filled to the brim with cheering crowds. The UEFO 2020 kicks off tonight with Italy v Turkey, and we’re delighted to announce that if you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, you will get exclusive access to the most quotable and shareable tournament ever imagined. We promise that it’ll be more thrilling and far better scripted than the real thing.