Table: Events to be awarded
The simultaneous bidding races to host the Olympic Games and soccer’s European Championships in 2020 are heating up, with Turkey still contentiously involved in both processes. The Olympics hopes of Baku and Doha were shattered after the International Olympic Committee’s executive board omitted the cities from a shortlist announced on May 23, leaving Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo to battle it out for the right to stage the games.
Turkey is already regarded as a strong contender for Euro 2020 after it narrowly lost out to France in the race to host Euro 2016, but the situation is complicated by Istanbul’s continuing Olympics campaign.
Hasan Arat, chairman of Istanbul 2020, insists its bid takes precedence, saying: “Our priority is the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Nothing has changed. Turkey already gave written approval from the prime minister, cabinet ministers and the mayor. It is a government-guaranteed bid. [The Euro 2020 bid] is just a letter from the FA [the Turkish football association]. It’s nothing from the government.”
Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, and Michel Platini, his counterpart at Uefa, European soccer’s governing body, have both declared that the Olympics and the European Championships cannot be held in the same country in the same year and the Istanbul bid is now seeking negotiations with the Turkish government to ensure its support for the games over the Euro 2020 bid.
Azerbaijan’s disappointment at Baku not being shortlisted for the Olympics was quickly tempered by the country’s national soccer federation vowing to proceed with a joint bid with Georgia to host Euro 2020. Other potential bidders include a joint application from Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
However, Platini has thrown open the possibility of multiple cities across the continent staging Euro 2020 matches, saying after a Uefa executive committee meeting in Kiev at the end of June: “We could either have one country with 12 host cities or have it in 12 or 13 cities across Europe.
He added: “We won’t need to build airports and stadiums especially at this moment in time when we have the economic crisis. It’s just an idea but it is an idea I really feel passionately about. The majority of the executive committee think it’s a good idea.”
Euro 2016 will be the first European Championship to have 24 teams, up from the 16 which competed in Poland and Ukraine this year, but there have been doubts over the number of countries capable of hosting a tournament of that size, which would require around 12 stadia, in 2020.
Uefa said it will hold discussions with all national associations that will conclude with the publication of detailed bid regulations in December. From that point onwards, associations interested in bidding will be obliged to prepare documentation ready for the deadline to submit bids to Uefa in September 2013.
The host of the 2020 Olympics will be decided in a vote at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 7, 2013, while Uefa has said that the host for Euro 2020 will be selected in May 2014.