Germany and Nordic group in bid race to host Euro 2024
Germany and a combined Nordic nations bid currently head the possible candidates to host the 2024 European Championship.
The leading contenders are clear though they have expressed only unofficial interest for a contest that should be decided in 2018, UEFA interim general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said Tuesday.
Turkey had been an expected bidder, after they were edged by France for the hosting rights to Euro 2016 and declined an invitation from UEFA president Michel Platini to bid to host Euro 2020 alone.
"Now, I don't know if Turkey will like to come back and give it a go," Theodoridis said at a briefing. "I don't think so, but you can never know."
Germany have focused on a 2024 bid, after leaving England clear to host the semifinals and final of the multi-nation Euro 2020.
The Nordic group of soccer federations from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden said in April they wanted to host the tournament either in 2024 or 2028. That bid would seek to stage events in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, too.
The four-nation Nordics group also announced this month it was backing Slovenia federation leader Aleksander Ceferin as a candidate to replace the now-suspended Platini in a Sept. 14 election.
The other currently declared contender, Michael van Praag, a UEFA vice president from the Netherlands, is reportedly a supporter of Germany for Euro 2024.
Still, Theodoridis said the bidding contest should not be a campaign issue in the presidential election voted by UEFA's 55 member federations.
"Of course, in an election you can never exclude populism but I would not worry about it," Theodoridis said, pointing to UEFA's transparency in publishing technical analysis of the bids. "I think it will be quite naive for people to think that they can promise or that they can be promised one thing or the other."
European Championship hosts are chosen by the 17-member UEFA executive committee, with members from a candidate country excluded from voting.
Theodoridis said he has no plans to enter the presidential contest by the July 20 deadline. The Greek official was deputy general secretary at UEFA until his former boss Gianni Infantino left in February on being elected FIFA president.
Infantino is scheduled to attend the Euro 2016 final on July 10, while Platini still has not attended a game in his home country despite an open invitation from UEFA.
"You can never say never," Theodoridis said. "The decision would be for Mr. Platini to make if he wants to come or not."
Platini has a home on the south coast near Marseille, where France would play a semifinal on July 7 if they beat Iceland at Saint-Denis on Sunday.