WALES, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are set to join the race to host Euro 2020, writes Andrew Penman.
The Celtic nations informed Uefa before yesterday’s midnight deadline that they would be interested in bidding to host the European Championships on a three-way basis.
It is understood that European football’s governing body encouraged the joint bid to challenge Turkey, while Georgia have also now declared an interest.
The Turks were the sole bidders until this week but their campaign has been hit by allegations of corruption and match-fixing in domestic football, while it also conflicts with Istanbul’s bid to land the Olympics in the same year.
Uefa president Michel Platini has indicated his support for Turkey’s bid – but only if Istanbul fails to land the 2020 Olympics.
A formal declaration of interest does not commit the Celtic countries to proceeding with a bid as a decision is not due to be taken by Uefa for 18 months.
Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford said: “It is not a bid, it’s a declaration of interest and that will allow us to obtain the information from Uefa so that we can fully assess and determine, independently and together, whether we should submit a bid.”
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan added: “It’s obviously something that has been discussed.”
Scotland and Wales considered a joint bid for the 2016 championship – which will be played in France – before deciding not to go ahead, while a joint bid for Euro 2008 by the Scots and the Irish failed.
The FAW has never held a Uefa final tournament but Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium will be the venue for matches at the Olympic Games this summer and Wales will host the Uefa Women’s Under-19 tournament next year.
One stumbling block to overcome to win the 2020 tournament is the number of stadia needed as the tournament has been expanded from 16 teams to 24 from 2016 onwards.
Wales, Scotland and Ireland might struggle to provide up to 10 stadia with sufficient capacity.