Euro 2020 bid interest from Wales, Scotland and Ireland
The Celtic nations of the UK (not including Northern Ireland) have teamed up to express their interest in hosting Euro 2020. Ireland, Scotland and Wales have formally expressed an interest to host the event on a three-way basis.
In a summer blockbuster season of superheroes teaming up to fight a greater evil this bid could be seen as UEFA’s version of the Avengers. That would make Scotland Irn Bru Man, and Ireland the Hulk - he is big and green after all.
When it comes to major international football competitions, it is an interesting solution to two perennial problems of the smaller nations of the British Isles.
Firstly: Although Ireland have qualified for Euro 2012, these three nations aren’t exactly habitual qualifiers for international tournaments. If - and it’s a long road ahead - a potential bid is successful the three nations will in one fell swoop have qualified for the competition.
Secondly: Smaller nations struggle to achieve successful bids for FIFA or UEFA competitions unless they combine bids.
Poland and the Ukraine came together in their bid for Euro 2012, believing their chance of success greatly improved if they bid together. Which is of course a natural position to take for two nations still sidelined from the European football mainstream; despite having long footballing histories.
Scotland, Ireland, Wales are helped by the fact they are very much part of the western football establishment. But the combined population of the three countries is dwarfed by that of Poland and Ukraine; which totals at 83 million as opposed to the 13 million combined of the three Celtic nations.
The chances of the Celtic nations are enhanced by the quality stadia present in all three countries, with further investment no doubt in the pipeline if there is a successful bid.
The Celtic nations have teamed up Avenger-style before. Ireland and Scotland bid together for Euro 2008, but they were eliminated first from consideration. Previous potential bids combining Scotland and Wales haven’t got off the ground.
But with Turkey the only other bidder to express an interest at this early stage (a country rife with football corruption) and the three nations having over the 10 stadiums required by UEFA to host the, by that time, 24 team tournament; the potential of the bid should not be dismissed out of hand.
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