By Andrew Warshaw
February 28 – Just days before the first UEFA-imposed deadline for national associations to confirm their interest, Nordic federations have ditched plans to bid for the 2024 European Championship – leaving Germany and Turkey to fight it out.
Last April, the Nordic group of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden said they were keen to host the tournament, possibly with Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and a firm decision one way or the other has been anticipated ever since. But the idea was dropped at a meeting in Copenhagen last Friday.
Danish Football Association President Jesper Moller said: “We must recognise that we are not prepared for a European Championship finals for men’s national teams in 2024, but we are also not yet ready to close the door on a possible joint Nordic bid for a European Championship finals at a later time.”
In reality, however, Nordic hopes received a major setback last December when UEFA’s executive committee ruled out any prospect of a three-way bid.
Although joint bids will continued to be allowed, said UEFA at the time, crucially “direct qualification will be guaranteed …to a maximum of two hosts,” effectively ruling out a three-nation bid – or even more.
Furthermore, UEFA said that minimum requirements to stage the tournament “will be based on 9 or 10 stadia, with 2-3 with at least 50,000 net capacity (preferable one with minimum 60,000); 3 stadiums with at least 40,000 net capacity and 4 stadiums with at least 30,000 net capacity.”
Unless there is now a surprise announcement of interest from elsewhere before March 3, Germany and Turkey – the latter having failed with bids for 2008 (jointly with Greece), 2012 and 2016 – will go head to head. April 2018 is the deadline for bid dossier submissions with the 2024 hosts appointed five months later.
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