QUEBEC CITY - Agence France-Presse
IOC chairman Jacques Rogge says Istanbul’s candidacy for the 2020 Games is still the only ‘official’ bid for Turkey. Rogge’s remarks come in the wake of controversy surrounding Turkey’s attempts to get two major events in the same year
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge has made several warnings against Turkey’s desire to host two major sports events, the Olympic Games and the European Football Championships, in the same year. AP photo
Olympics chief Jacques Rogge declared on May 24 that Turkey is officially bidding for the right to host just one major sporting event in 2020 -- and it is the Olympics.
The country’s largest metropolis Istanbul has in fact sought to host both the Olympics and European Football Championship in the same year, but Rogge told a press conference that only the Olympic bid is backed by the government.
“We know that there is a bid from the Turkish football federation to stage the 2020 European championships. This bid is not yet accepted by UEFA
and this bid does not have today the financial guarantees of the government,” Rogge explained.
“When we decided to grant permission to Istanbul... to go to candidate phase (to host the 2020 Olympics), we based ourselves on the actual situation where in Turkey there is only one official bid, which is the Olympic bid,” he said.‘Priority is Olympics’
Earlier this week, Istanbul as well as Tokyo and Madrid made the first cut among bidders to host the 2020 Olympics, as the International Olympic Committee announced that Baku
were dropped from the running.
There was suggestions that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a former footballer, favors hosting the UEFA
competition over the Olympics, but on May 23, Hasan Arat, a senior official of Istanbul’s bidding team, insisted: “Our priority is the Olympics.” Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç has also made it clear that the government is focusing primarily on its Olympic bid.
Earlier this year, Michel Platini, the head of the European football’s governing body, UEFA, expressed his doubts about Turkey being a candidate for two major sports events in the same year.
“Turkey had a strong bid in 2016 and I think they will be even stronger in 2020,” Platini said during the UEFA
Congress held in Istanbul in March. “Now the only small issue I have in respect to this, is that in 2020 Istanbul is also a candidate for the Olympics. If they have the Olympics and the Euros it’s maybe a bit of a handful.”