16 May 2012 /REUTERS/AP
Georgia and a combination of Scotland, Wales and Ireland declared their interest on Tuesday 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. With the deadline to express an interest expiring later on Tuesday, Georgia said it would go it alone with a bid, ditching an original plan to co-host with Azerbaijan after Baku withdrew its interest in order to focus on a bid for 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. The competition will be expanded from 16 to 24 teams after this summer’s championship, placing a greater demand on bidding countries that will need to have up to 10 stadiums to host matches.