Celtic trio, Georgia join Euro 2020 race

Celtic trio, Georgia join Euro 2020 race

Celtic trio, Georgia join Euro 2020 race

Turkey is one of the candidates in the Euro 2020 bidding race despite receiving a criticism from Platini on not to run for two major sports events in the same year. AFP photo

Georgia and a combination of Scotland, Wales and Ireland declared their interest yesterday in hosting the European Championship in 2020, joining Turkey in the race to stage the event for the first time.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI), which previously considered a bid with their Scottish counterparts to host Euro 2008, said preliminary talks had been held between the three associations and that they would explore a joint bid in more detail over the next 18 months.

Georgia also announced before yesterday’s deadline that it would go it alone with a bid, ditching an original plan to co-host with Azerbaijan after Baku withdrew its interest to focus on the 2020 Olympics.
Turkey filed its candidacy last month but it is also bidding for the 2020 Olympics, raising concerns over whether Istanbul can host both events in the space of two months.

Both the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the UEFA President Michel Platini said Turkey could not win the hosting of both major events.

Last week, the IOC President Jacques Rogge told AFP that a Games host country cannot hold another major sports event in the same year, adding Turkey will have to withdraw its bid for the Euro 2020 if it is awarded the Olympic Games in the same year.

“Ultimately, it will be for the government to make their mind up but I would say the election would be conditional on not organizing another competition,” Rogge said.

European football championship will be expanded from 16 to 24 teams after this summer’s tournament, placing a greater demand on bidding countries who will need to have up to 10 stadiums to host matches. Scotland and Wales, who briefly mulled a bid to host in 2016, could do well with Ireland which may use the 82,000 capacity Croke Park Gaelic sports ground, as well as the 50,000-seat Aviva Stadium.

Georgia has to build a number of new stadiums. Construction of a new stadium in Batumi would start this year, with further new stadiums planned for Gori, Ozurgeti and Zugdidi and overhauls in Tbilisi and Kutais stadiums, sports minister Lado Vardzelashvili said.

Additional report from Reuters was used in this story