Italy and Türkiye have asked to co-host soccer’s 2032 European Championship for which they are the only bidders, UEFA said Friday, Ednews reports citing AP News.
The two soccer federations had been competing in the bidding contest that is scheduled for an Oct. 10 vote by UEFA executive committee members. Their decision to unite all but guarantees the long-time favorite to host Euro 2028 — the four United Kingdom federations and Ireland — will win as expected on the same day. Türkiye was its only rival though was targeting 2032.
Teaming up would reduce UEFA's risk of committing to a solo host nine years in advance for a 24-team, 51-game tournament likely using 10 stadiums in June and July.
It would also challenge UEFA's pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions at its events by 2040 when Italy must build new stadiums and Rome and Istanbul are separated by about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) with flights taking more than two hours.
Italy needs to build and renovate an aging inventory of stadiums. Construction projects in Italy, such as replacing iconic San Siro stadium in Milan, can be notoriously bureaucratic and slow. Roma aimed to have a new stadium open for the 2016-17 season but is still in Stadio Olimpico that was used for Euro 2020 games.
Türkiye has the stadiums and infrastructure almost entirely ready after a massive national construction project under two decades of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's political leadership.
Co-hosting without a competitive vote would be a pragmatic solution for Türkiye after several failed bids over the last 20 years and fresh questions over its hosting ability after the Champions League final in Istanbul last month.
Manchester City fans and even senior UEFA officials who will choose the 2032 host faced logistical challenges in the city and around the 72,000-capacity Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
UEFA said it will now work with the two federations to ensure their joint bid meets all the requirements for the 24-team tournament.
The Turkish federation said in a statement Euro 2032 would be “equally distributed between the two countries” with no decisions yet on which cities and stadiums will be retained.
Though Türkiye is also bidding to host the 2028 edition, that has long been slated for the UK and Ireland since they withdrew with UEFA's approval from the 2030 World Cup contest.