x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Turkey says it is favourite to host Euro 2020 final

Michel Platini, the Uefa president, pledged conditional support for Istanbul getting final and semi-finals hosting package, according to Turkish football official.

Residents of Istanbul were naturally distraught after hearing their city had lost the Olympic bid yet again. Murad Sezer / Reuters
Residents of Istanbul were naturally distraught after hearing their city had lost the Olympic bid yet again. Murad Sezer / Reuters

DUBROVNIK, Croatia // Turkey believes it is “top of the list” to host the 2020 European Championship final, after Istanbul lost the 2020 Olympics race.

Michel Platini, the Uefa president, pledged his conditional support in January for Istanbul getting the elite final and semi-finals hosting package, Emre Alkin, the Turlish Football Federation general secretary, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“It is all about the promises and Mr Platini in a face-to-face conversation promised us – and I underline that, promised us – that if we don’t get the Olympic Games we will surely have the final package,” Alkin said.

Platini’s long-standing support for Turkey, since his native France edged it to host Euro 2016, was initially for staging the 24-team tournament alone in 2020.

That project was complicated by Turkey’s government committing to bid for the Olympics scheduled just weeks after Uefa’s marquee tournament. The IOC chose Tokyo this month.

“As far as I am concerned, yes,” Platini said in January of backing Istanbul in a Euro 2020 vote involving his 17-member Uefa executive committee. “For the other members, I don’t know.”

Uefa is expected to announce on Friday which are the formal applicants to host matches at Euro 2020, which will be played in 13 countries.

Alkin said he expects “three or four, including Turkey” of Uefa’s 54 member countries to compete for the final package.

“Spain is ready but reluctant to bid. Germany says, ‘If you are very positive, I won’t bid. Not to break your heart’,” the Turkish official said on the sidelines of a four-day summit of Uefa stakeholders. “Hungary likes to have it. Why not? They have the ability and the capacity. But in seven years? It’s too much money.”

Uefa chooses the winner next September, plus 12 cities which will each stage three group matches and a knockout round match.

sports@thenational.ae