x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Wales and Scotland eye up bid

The Scottish and Welsh football associations could enter a joint bid to host the 2016 European Championships.

The Scottish and Welsh football associations could enter a joint bid to host the 2016 European Championships after both confirmed "tentative" talks over co-hosting the event. Scotland's long-standing dream of staging the tournament appeared to have ended in September when Uefa announced they were increasing the number of finalists from 16 to 24 in eight years' time. The country lacks the infrastructure to host an expanded tournament, but the Scottish FA (SFA) are looking to link up with one of their near neighbours.

They have also held talks with Northern Ireland, but this is believed to be a non-starter, leaving Wales as the only viable alternative. "As we've always said, we would love to host the European Championships in Scotland," a statement from the SFA said. "However, we realise it's a huge undertaking and, as far as 2016 goes, we simply couldn't host it by ourselves. "We're meeting with the other home nations at the International Football Association board meeting in Belfast in February. I'm sure it's something we'll discuss.

"If there was a feeling that a bid was a possibility, we would then commission a feasibility study." Talks between the SFA and the Football Association of Wales (FAW) over a joint bid have been mooted for more than a year, with the FAW revealing in April 2007 they hoped to enter into discussions. This is the first time the SFA have confirmed such talks have taken place. An FAW spokesman confirmed that "very tentative" discussions have been "ongoing for some time".

"We are interested in the idea and it's a question of where it goes from there," he said. * PA Sport Meanwhile, UEFA general secretary David Taylor insists Scotland would be a "great place" to hold the tournament. Former SFA chief executive Taylor, who was involved in the unsuccessful bid to bring Euro 2008 to Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, added in the Herald: "It would be terrific. But I must be careful here.

"My enthusiasm for and advice to any country could be perceived in the wrong way. Many countries in UEFA are capable of hosting the tournament." UEFA decided in September to expand the European Championship finals from 2016. Current SFA chief executive Gordon Smith had lobbied for the change, despite admitting it would rule his country out of bidding individually for future tournaments. However, as the expansion gives Scotland a much better chance of qualifying, Smith felt it was a sacrifice worth making.