Turkey confirms bid to host Euro 2024

Istanbul - Turkey announced on Thursday an ambitious bid backed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to host the Euro 2024 football tournament, brushing off concerns over security and infrastructure.

The football authorities hope it will be second time lucky for the bid after losing out to France to host the 2016 event by one vote, but Turkey is likely to face strong competition from Germany.

Turkey in 2014 withdrew its bid to host final stage matches of Euro 2020 - which uniquely will be held across Europe - in favour of focusing on a one country bid for 2024.

Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chief Yildirim Demiroren said the bid would be formally presented to UEFA on March 2, just before the March 3 deadline for candidates.

"This time it is our right to host the championships," he told reporters at TFF headquarters.

He thanked Erdogan for the support, adding: "I believe we are moving together on this path."

Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic said that Turkey now had the best stadium infrastructure in Europe and its only rival in terms of recently built venues was the United States.

"In the last years, Turkey has made a great step forward in terms of stadiums," he added. "Turkey is able to organise anything on a world sporting level."

Turkey has in the last years embarked on a massive spree of stadium building, opening a new 42 000 seat venue in Konya in 2014, a similar size venue for Istanbul side Besiktas last year and most recently a new stadium for Trabzonspor by the Black Sea.

The Turkish authorities were bitterly disappointed that Istanbul lost out to Tokyo in the race to host the 2020 Olympics and believe the country now has the infrastructure in place to host a global sports event.

Turkey had also in 2010 lost out narrowly by one vote - and in controversial circumstances - to France in the bidding to host the 2016 Euro competition. 

It had also been keen to host Euro 2020 and the Turkish authorities were angered by UEFA's decision to hold the competition across European cities.

Kilic did not rule out another bid in the future to host the Olympics, saying the failed 2020 candidacy "taught us a lot" and helped "increase our capabilities".

In the 2024 race, Turkey will face competition from 2006 World Cup hosts Germany - which has already confirmed its interest - as well as possibly a joint bid from Scandinavian nations.

But the bid may be shadowed by concerns over security after the July 15 failed coup and a slew of terror attacks in 2016 that left hundreds dead, as well as whether Turkey's transport infrastructure is up to hosting a nationwide tournament.

"I don't think there will be any problems with transport," said Kilic.

He compared the rapid construction of Istanbul's third airport - due to open next year - with the repeated delays in opening Berlin Brandenburg airport in Germany.

The country has seen in the last years a massive overhaul of its infrastructure in projects spearheaded by Erdogan as he seeks to make Turkey a top 10 global economy.

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