England battle Wales for right to host 2013 event
The Football Association may still be licking their wounds after the dismal failure of their 2018 World Cup bid but next week they will go head to head with Wales to try to secure the 2013 European Under-21 Championships.
Five nations are bidding to host the tournament – Israel, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are the other hopefuls competing with the two home nations.
The England bid is based around five clubs' stadia – Shrewsbury, Chesterfield, Derby, Notts County and Nottingham Forest – with the final to be played at Wembley.
Wales' bid would have the final at the Millennium Stadium with the other venues for the eight-team tournament being the grounds of Swansea and Cardiff, plus Llanelli's Parc y Scarlets.
If England were to win the bid, it would make life much easier for the FA in terms of preparing a team for the London 2012 Olympics, which has an under-23 limit with three over-age players permitted.
If England are 2013 hosts then they would not need to play in any of the Under-21 qualifying matches and could play a series of Team GB friendlies in preparation for the Olympics. The Football Association of Wales are also bidding to host Fifa's Under-17 and/or Under-20 World Cups in 2015.
The FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "The European Under-21s is probably the biggest tournament that Wales could host on its own. That's in contrast to England – for us this would be a really, really big deal and I see it as part of our strategy to bring to life football is this country."
Uefa's executive committee will make the decision at their meeting on Thursday and Friday next week.
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