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Euro 2020

English FA working towards tournament bid


London (AFP) – England’s Football Association hopes its role in staging Euro 2020 will provide a platform for the country to host a full tournament again, new chairman Greg Clarke said on Wednesday.

England will host the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, which is being staged across 13 European nations to mark the competition’s 60th anniversary.

England was stung in the bidding for the 2018 World Cup, garnering just two votes as it lost out to Russia, and has not staged a major tournament since Euro ’96.

“I think it would be a big ask to get Euro 2024 when we’ve had the final here in 2020,” Clarke told reporters at a Euro 2020 launch event in London.

“But certainly later on in the decade, we’re reaching out to our friends in UEFA across Europe, the other 53 nations, building relationships, building friends, building an ability to bid if we ever deem it’s appropriate.

“We would like to figure out whether we have a reasonable chance of winning, because last time we spent 18 million pounds ($23.3 million, 20.9 million euros) and we had no chance of winning.”

The bidding process for the 2018 World Cup and the 2022 tournament, won by Qatar, was marred by accusations of vote-buying.

There have since been sweeping changes across world football’s governing bodies, with Gianni Infantino now president of FIFA and the newly elected Aleksander Ceferin in charge at UEFA.

Clarke is also new to his role, having recently succeeded Greg Dyke at the head of the FA.

He has already dropped Dyke’s stated pledge that England would aim to win the World Cup by 2022, describing a countdown clock installed at the St George’s Park national football centre as “daft”.

England were knocked out of Euro 2016 by minnows Iceland in the last 16 and have reached only two major semi-finals since winning the World Cup as hosts in 1966.

But while Clarke is reluctant to set specific targets, FA chief executive Martin Glenn believes England should approach every tournament aiming to win.

“We’ll turn up to every tournament as contenders. That has to be our expectation,” Glenn said.

“You can never say you’re going to win it because everybody else wants to win it, too. But that is our ambition: to turn up to every tournament as a reasonable favourite and take it from there.”

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