Football Association continue bid for European Championship final despite Istanbul emerging as a strong front-runner

FA are hopeful to secure both a semi-final and the final at Wembley for the 2020 tournament which will be held across 13 cities in Europe

England will push ahead with a bid for the Euro 2020 semi-finals and finals despite Istanbul emerging as the strong favourite.

Football Association chiefs have been deciding on their strategy for Euro 2020 after Istanbul lost out in its bid for the 2020 Olympics - meaning they would be front-runners to host the climax of the European Championship instead.

The FA has confirmed now that it has declared an interest in hosting either the semi-finals and final at Wembley, or a 'standard' package of three group games and a knock-out round match.

In total, 32 countries including England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have declared an interest in hosting matches at the tournament, which is to be held in 13 cities across the continent.

The FA has low expectations of winning the final but decided to lodge a bid in order to display its commitment.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said: "UEFA's 'Euro for Europe' in 2020 promises to be a fitting way to recognise 60 years of the UEFA European Championship.

"We would be delighted for London and Wembley Stadium to be chosen to host either of the two packages available and we look forward to working with UEFA on the forthcoming selection process.

"It would be great to see England playing in front of their home fans here in London as part of a Euro finals tournament but many countries have also put themselves forward as hosts and we expect this to be a very competitive bidding process."

Final bid dossiers have to be submitted to UEFA by April 25 next year with a decision on September 25.

UEFA president Michel Platini has previously said he would back Turkey for Euro 2020 if Istanbul's Olympic bid was unsuccessful.

Platini said: "We are extremely proud to see the huge interest in the bidding process, with more than half of our member associations willing to host matches at UEFA Euro 2020.

"The finals will be a great celebration of football across the European continent, and the 60th anniversary edition will be truly special, by really coming to the doorstep of all football fans."

The 32 UEFA member associations which have declared an interest are: Armenia (Yerevan), Azerbaijan (Baku), Belarus (Minsk), Belgium (Brussels), Bulgaria (Sofia), Croatia (Zagreb), Czech Republic (Prague), Denmark (Copenhagen), England (London), Finland (Helsinki), France (Lyon), Holland (Amsterdam), Macedonia (Skopje), Germany (Munich), Greece (Athens), Hungary (Budapest), Israel (Jerusalem), Italy (Rome and Milan), Kazakhstan (Astana), Poland (Warsaw and Chorzow), Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), Republic of Ireland (Dublin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (St Petersburg), Scotland (Glasgow), Serbia (Belgrade), Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia), Sweden (Solna), Switzerland (Basle), Turkey (Istanbul), Ukraine (Kiev and Donetsk) and Wales (Cardiff).

PA

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