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UEFA says Italy and Turkey have teamed up for bid to co-host 2032 European Championship

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

England's Harry Kane challenges for the ball with Italy'sSandro Tonali and Wilfried Gnonto during the Euro 2024 group C qualifying soccer match between Italy and England at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy, on March 23, 2023.
England's Harry Kane challenges for the ball with Italy'sSandro Tonali and Wilfried Gnonto during the Euro 2024 group C qualifying soccer match between Italy and England at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy, on March 23, 2023.PETER CZIBORRA (Action Images via Reuters)

Italy and Turkey have asked to co-host soccer’s 2032 European Championship for which they are the only bidders, UEFA said Friday.

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. Turkey 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.

Turkey 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 Turkey 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 Turkey 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.

UEFA wants only one European bid for that World Cup and its preferred candidate is the Spain-Portugal bid that now also includes Morocco and Ukraine. The FIFA vote is scheduled late in 2024.

UEFA should make both Euros hosting awards on Oct. 10 at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Euro 2024 is being hosted alone by Germany, which easily beat Turkey in a vote in September 2018.

German organizers are encouraging teams and visitors to the tournament to use “eco-friendly travel by train, at reduced prices.” Rail operator Deutsche Bahn is an official sponsor.

Co-hosting tournaments inevitably adds to their carbon footprint and Italy has already experienced record extreme heat this summer.

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