Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland declare interest in hosting Euro 2020

 

Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have formally declared an interest in jointly hosting Euro 2020, as the Celtic nations scent a chance to challenge Turkey for one of sport's three mega events.

The European Championship ranks behind only the World Cup and the Olympics as a major sporting spectacle but interest in the 2020 tournament has been strangely muted.

Until this week, only Turkey had come forward and the prospect of a straight vote against that bid alone has prompted the national associations of Scotland, Wales and Ireland to take a first significant step towards submitting a bid of their own.

The three 'Celtic' FAs have declared an interest in 'tri-hosting' the tournament and UEFA's deadline for such expressions of interest expires at midnight tonight.

The only other country to have come forward is Georgia, but the former Soviet republic would struggle to satisfy UEFA's criteria on the number and quality of stadiums, especially as the tournament will expand from 16 to 24 teams in four years' time.

Turkey at one point looked nailed on to become hosts after being publicly supported by UEFA president Michel Platini but that bid is now in some disarray. The Turkish federation have been engulfed by allegations of corruption and match-fixing in Turkish football, and a Euro 2020 bid conflicts with Istanbul's bid to land the Olympics in the same year.

Platini had signalled he would support Turkey's bid, but only if Istanbul failed in its Olympic bid. UEFA executive committee members much prefer being able to choose between more than one candidate, and having a rival for Euro 2020 also gets the International Olympic Committee out of a hole because they could not vote for Istanbul if Turkey were the only Euro bidder.

One senior figure at UEFA told the Press Association that Turkey have real problems to deal with and that could open the way for the Celtic nations.

He said: "Many in UEFA are losing patience with Turkey due to the chaos in the football there. The Olympic clash does not help either so this could be good news for Scotland, Wales and Ireland if they were to proceed with a bid."

UEFA have had some bad experiences with co-hosting with different governments, different police forces and different tax regimes. The expansion of the tournament means however that very few countries could practically be solo hosts, and England, Germany, and Spain have all ruled themselves out while France are hosting Euro 2016 and Russia are concentrating on the 2018 World Cup. A joint Scandinavian bid also looks unlikely due to a lack of political support.

In geographical terms, Ireland, Scotland and Wales may not have any direct borders with each other but the distances involved are minor compared for example to Ukraine.

Jonathan Ford, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, stressed the countries had not yet submitted a bid.

Ford told the Press Association: "It is not a bid, it's a declaration of interest and that will allow us to obtain the information from UEFA so that we can fully assess and determine, independently and together, whether we should submit a bid."

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said in a statement: "The expression of interest is preliminary after the principle was discussed and is being put forward by the three associations so that the opportunity can be explored in more detail.

"At this stage no bids would be expected or required by UEFA for at least 18 months."

The Scottish Football Association issued a similar statement saying: "We can confirm that we have had initial discussions on the principle of a joint bid with both Wales and the Republic of Ireland and have declared our interest to UEFA in order that we can fully explore the opportunity in more detail.

"At this stage no bids are expected by UEFA in relation to Euro 2020. These will not be required for at least 18 months."

Bidders would need to put forward up to 10 stadiums to host matches in the Championships. Scotland and Wales would struggle to provide that number of stadiums to satisfy UEFA requirements but Ireland's involvement would cover the shortfall. Somewhat ironically, it was the SFA and FAI who proposed the increase in the size of the competition.

The countries have not fared well in the past in bidding for the tournament. Scotland and the Republic bid jointly for Euro 2008 but were one of the first to be eliminated, and Scotland and Wales considered bidding jointly for Euro 2016 but decided against it.

Georgia have confirmed interest in hosting the tournament despite their hopes of Azerbaijan joining them in a joint bid being dashed.

Lado Vardzelashvili, the Georgian sports minister told a news conference today that they would proceed with a solo bid after Azerbaijan decided to concentrate on a bid by Baku for the 2020 Olympics.

"Azerbaijan has made a bid to host the Olympics so Georgia will continue bidding for Euro 2020 independently," Vardzelashvili was quoted by media in Georgia today.

The former Soviet republic may struggle to fulfil the UEFA criteria for stadiums but Vardzelashvili insisted that construction of "ultra-modern stadiums" will start this year.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?