By Andrew Warshaw
May 2 – Turkey’s chances of ending years of disappointment by finally landing the European Championship finals in 2024 could be scuppered by a new human rights provision in UEFA’s hosting guidelines.
Germany and Turkey are the only countries to have formally declared an interest in staging the tournament that year but for the first time the hosts must meet specific criteria related to human rights.
That that could spell bad news for the Turks who are desperate to finally stage Europe’s showpiece competition but who may find it difficult to comply with the new rules, with both associations having until April 27 next year to complete and submit their bid dossiers.
Earlier this year the UN human rights office published a report detailing “serious human rights violations committed between July 2015 and December 2016 in south-east Turkey”.
Additionally Amnesty International has criticised Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for overseeing “a massive government crackdown on civil servants and civil society” after a coup attempt last July that led to thousands being arrested during a state of emergency.
Germany have staged three major footballing competitions in the past – the World Cup in 1974, the European Championship in 1988 as West Germany, and the World Cup again in 2006. Turkey, conversely, have never been hosts but UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin made it clear he would accept nothing less than complete compliance.
“The protection of human rights and labour rights is of the utmost importance for UEFA. It was imperative for us to introduce specific articles on the respect and protection of human rights in the bidding requirements for all of our competitions,” he said.
“From now on, bidding nations will have to adhere strictly to these articles in the framework of the organisation of all our tournaments and finals.”
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