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

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before