Italy to join race to host Euro 2016

March 4th, 2009 - 1:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, March 4 (DPA) Italy has confirmed its interest in making a bid to host football’s European Championships in 2016.
The Italian federation FIGC will officially declare its interest to continental body UEFA by the deadline next Monday.

FIGC president Giancarlo Abete was quoted by Italian media as saying there had been informal contacts with the Italian government, which has given the thumbs up for a bid.

Italy failed in its bid to host Euro 2012 when Poland and Ukraine were chosen as joint hosts.

Because the first step of the bidding procedure is a mere show of interest, Abete said that financial aspects were not discussed with the government.

“The procedure has changed compared to Euro 2012, and (countries) don’t have to present, from the outset, a complete dossier, but only show their interest to organise the event, providing some initial data,” Abete said.

“UEFA, by April 1, will issue a shortlist (of bidders). The dossier will have to be presented by Feb 15, 2010, and (UEFA) will decide on May 27 of the same year.”

Italy were disconcerted when UEFA assigned Euro 2012 to Poland and Ukraine, but Abete said he was convinced that things will be different for Euro 2016.

“There can be two different political choices (from UEFA),” the president said about FIGC’s previous unsuccessful bid.

“Either invest in a traditional country or open for the first time to eastern Europe, as it was done in that occasion, although Italy had a better dossier.”

Other countries looking to organise the tournament are France, Turkey and, as joint hosts, Sweden and Norway.

On Sunday, Wales and Scotland abandoned plans for a joint bid, citing the economic downturn. With the event to be expanded from 16 to 24 teams from 2016, the two federations said the costs would have been prohibitive.

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