Football

Published: Saturday April 26, 2014 MYT 6:33:40 AM
Updated: Saturday April 26, 2014 MYT 6:34:25 AM

England, Scots, Wales, Ireland make Euro 2020 bids

LONDON (Reuters) - England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland submitted bids to UEFA on Friday to host matches at the 2020 European Championship which is being staged across the continent for the first time.

The English FA said it had expressed an interest in two packages - to be either host city for both semi-finals and the final or one of the 12 group-stage packages on offer.

The FA of Wales announced separately that it had bid for a package of three group games plus a last-16 or quarter-final.

Matches would be staged at Wembley and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium under the proposals, with Scotland putting forward Hampden Park and Ireland aiming to use Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

Ireland, which had been exploring a joint bid with Wales and Scotland before European soccer's governing body decided to use different cities to mark the tournament's 60th anniversary, hopes to host four games in a government-backed application.

Just under 30 countries are expected to apply to host games and the full list of bidders is due to be published on Saturday with a final decision announced by UEFA in Geneva on September 19.

Euro 2020 will be held at 13 venues across the continent, a departure from the tradition of sole or neighbouring host nations, to mark the tournament's 60th anniversary.

FA general secretary Alex Horne recognised UEFA would have many strong bids but held up London's recent record of hosting big events.

"We are bidding for either of the two packages...and with our recent experience of hosting two UEFA Champions League Finals in the last four years we believe that Wembley Stadium and London represent a strong bid for UEFA to consider," he said.

England hosted the 1996 European Championship.

Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the FAW, said in a statement that Cardiff also represented a "strong and compelling proposition.

"The Millennium Stadium, with a capacity of almost 75,000 as well as 100 hospitality boxes, would generate a significant financial contribution for UEFA," he said.

Campbell Ogilvie, Scottish FA President, said: "With the (National) stadium demonstrating its versatility as the host venue for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games (in 2014) I am sure the whole country - and indeed football fans across Europe - would be thrilled by the prospect of the Hampden Roar providing its unique soundtrack to the European Championship in 2020."

Ireland's 51,700-seat Aviva Stadium hosted the 2011 Europa League final and is central to the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid.

"This bid (Euro 2020) has gone to the cabinet, it's had huge support from the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). As a group, there's been a great effort put in terms of a technical bid," John Delaney told national broadcaster RTE.

"Now it goes to a political phase and we'll have to lobby quite hard to be one of the cities selected. I think they'll go north, south, east and west and in our case Wales, Scotland, England and ourselves have all submitted bids today."

(Reporting by Michael Hann and Alan Baldwin in London and Padraic Halpin in Dublin, editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris)

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