Celtic Nations & Georgia Reveal Bids for Euro 2020
May 15, 2012
Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have officially declared an interest in joint hosting Euro 2020, along with surprise candidate Georgia.
The countries have told UEFA that they would be interested in bidding to host the European Championships with Scotland, Wales and Republic of Ireland looking for a joint bid while Georgia seeking a solo bid. So far Turkey are the only other nation to inform UEFA that they want to want host the tournament.
A source close to UEFA has confirmed to the Press Association that a written expression of interest from the three ‘Celtic’ countries has been submitted to the European governing body. Georgian Minister of Sports Lado Vardzelashvili and president of the Georgian Football Federation Zviad Sichinava officially confirmed the bid on Tuesday.
Any other declarations of interest must be submitted by midnight on Tuesday.
Bidders would need to put forward up to 10 stadiums to host matches in the European Championships, which is being expanded from 16 teams to 24 from 2016.
Scotland and Wales would struggle to provide that number of stadiums to satisfy UEFA requirements but Ireland’s involvement would cover the shortfall.
The formal declaration of interest does not commit the Celtic countries to proceeding with a bid, however – a decision is not due to be taken by UEFA for 18 months.
The countries have not fared well in the past in bidding for the tournament. Scotland and the Republic of Ireland 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 and Azerbaijan were initially looking for a joint bid for Euro 2020 but Azerbaijan pulled out due to their commitment to Baku 2020 Olympic bid.
“Azerbaijan has made a bid to host the  Olympics… So Georgia will continue bidding for Euro 2020 independently,” Lado Vardzelashvili, the Georgian minister of sports, said at a news conference on May 15.
Turkey’s bid is in some disarray already because their FA has been engulfed by allegations of corruption and match-fixing in Turkish football, and it also conflicts with Istanbul’s bid to land the Olympics in the same year.
UEFA president Michel Platini had signalled he would support Turkey’s bid, but only if Istanbul fails in its effort to host the Olympics.
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said the idea of bidding for Euro 2020 had been discussed but would not confirm or deny whether an expression of interest had been made. “I’m not able to comment publicly at this stage because it has not gone to our board but there will be an exchange of correspondence before the deadline,” he told www.insidethegames.biz.
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