German carmaker Volkswagen said it has won a deal to become the new mobility partner of the EURO 2020 soccer championship, which it said it would use to showcase its new I.D. electric car model.
Volkswagen is banking on the popularity of soccer as it seeks to restore its image following the “dieselgate” emissions test cheating scandal and makes a strategic shift towards electric cars.
Last month, it said it would become the biggest commercial sponsor of Germany’s national soccer team, replacing luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz after 45 years.
At the European soccer championship, it succeeds Hyundai, whose cars and buses shuttled championship officials and VIP guests during the EURO 2016 held in France.
For the tournament’s 60th anniversary, organizers have chosen a controversial format by which 13 cities across the continent, rather than only one or two countries, will host matches.
Portugal are the defending champions, having won the 2016 edition beating host France in the final.
Former UEFA President Michel Platini said that the tournament being hosted in several nations is a “romantic” one-off event to celebrate the 60th “birthday” of the European Championship competition. The winner will earn the right to participate in the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup. Wembley Stadium in London will host the semi-finals and final for the second time after the 1996 tournament.