Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey’s football authorities confirmed Wednesday the country was bidding to host the Euro 2024 football tournament, which would be the biggest sporting event it has ever held.
Turkey in 2014 withdrew its bid to host final stage matches of Euro 2020 — which uniquely will be held across Europe — in favour of focusing on a one country bid for 2024.
The bid was announced at the headquarters of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) in Istanbul by Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic and TFF chief Yildirim Demiroren.
Demiroren said the bid would be formally presented to UEFA on March 2, just before the deadline for candidates.
“I hope the outcome will bring something beautiful for our country,” said Kilic, emphasising the bid had been approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“In the last years, Turkey has made a great step forward in terms of stadiums,” he added. “Turkey is able to organise anything on a world sporting level.”
The Turkish authorities were bitterly disappointed that Istanbul lost out to Tokyo in the race to host the 2020 Olympics and believe the country now has the infrastructure in place to host an event of this magnitude.
Turkey had also lost out narrowly — and in controversial circumstances — to France in the bidding to host the 2016 Euro competition.
In the 2024 race, Turkey will face competition from 2006 World Cup hosts Germany — which has already confirmed its interest — as well as possibly a joint bid from Scandinavian nations.
The country has seen in the last years a massive overhaul of its infrastructure in projects spearheaded by Erdogan as he seeks to make Turkey a top 10 global economy.
But the bid may be shadowed by concerns over security after the July 15 failed coup and a slew of terror attacks in 2016, as well as worries about the rule of law as Erdogan seeks to create a presidential system that critics regard as one man rule.