This post originally appeared as a thread posted by @JamesInTurkey on Twitter.
Turkey’s hopes of hosting UEFA Euro 2024, the four-yearly European football championship, will be decided next week. It could be the first time the country hosts a major football tournament.
But European football’s governing body UEFA says the Turkish bid has a number of significant problems, according to the UEFA evaluation report released today. Here is what they say is wrong with the Turkish bid.
Stadiums: All ten stadiums offer sufficient infrastructure to stage the matches but only four (Istanbul x2, Ankara, Bursa) are capable of hosting for quarter finals and beyond. That would restrict the latter stages of the tournament mostly to the northwest.
Transport: Only five cities — Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Trabzon and Gaziantep — will meet transport requirements, even with planned upgrades. The report says Kocaeli, Bursa, Konya and Eskişehir need to lay out additional, temporary measures.
Hotel accommodation: This is a “matter of concern” everywhere except Istanbul and Antalya. Ankara’s capacity is “limited”; all others “very limited”. Plans to offer hostels, guest houses and universities campus would “reduce the impact” — that’s reduce, not remove.
Training centres: The geographical spread of proposed training facilities for the teams is insufficient — half are in either Istanbul or Antalya. Gaziantep has not provided the minimum two training centres required that meet the criteria.
Alcohol: Turkey’s blanket ban on alcohol advertising could be a “potential conflict” if a beer company wants to sponsor the event. Remember that Carlsberg has sponsored every UEFA Euro tournament this century.
Human rights: Most significantly of all, the Turkish Football Federation has “no specific project related to the EURO tournament to ensure the protection of human rights”. This could be the TFF’s biggest failing and the excuse some European FAs will be after to vote for Germany’s rival bid.#
Economy: UEFA’s report also says recent economic developments in Turkey “may put planned public investments under pressure” — such as the stadium and transport infrastructure upgrades that were promised.
There are plenty of positives in there too: telecoms infrastructure is of “high quality”, Turkey’s commercial sector provides “good support” for advertising and other partners. UEFA’s legal rights and interests would be protected to a “high level”.
And there is no question of whether the actual Euro 2024 matches themselves can be staged and staged well. Turkey “presents a motivational, attractive and high-quality vision”, the UEFA report says.
But it’s up to European FAs to decide between a sturdy German bid and a riskier Turkish one.
Few things would make me more proud than to see a major football tournament staged in Turkey. It deserves its turn. The child in me would be thrilled. But let’s be objective. If you were paying for #EURO2024 out of your own pocket, which would you pick: Turkey, or Germany?
Read UEFA’s full report here.