IOC Snub Triggers Azerbaijan-Georgia Euro 2020 Bid; Turkish FA Under Pressure
May 24, 2012
(WFI) Hours after Baku was eliminated in the 2020 Olympics race, Azerbaijan announces that it is teaming up with Georgia to bid for Euro 2020. The joint bid provides competition for Turkey and a potential bid by Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland for the UEFA tournament.
The president of the Azerbaijan FA, Rovnag Abdullayev, made the announcement on the sidelines of the FIFA Congress in Budapest on Thursday, according to Azerbaijani news agency APA.
Georgia had submitted a declaration of interest to UEFA by its May 15 deadline after Azerbaijan declined the offer of a joint bid. But Baku's exit from the Olympics contest has triggered a change of heart, and UEFA has since reopened the bidding process to its 53 member associations in an effort to attract more bidders.
“Budapest hosts FIFA congress today. Our secretary general is there and we put in nomination with Georgia to host Euro 2020,” Abdullayev was quoted as saying.
Baku, which is hosting FIFA's U-17 Women's World Cup in the autumn, failed to make the IOC's shortlist of candidate cities for the 2020 Olympics. Doha was also knocked out Wednesday night, leaving Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo to battle it out for hosting rights.
The IOC will vote on the host city in a secret ballot in Buenos Aires in September 2013, a few months before UEFA is scheduled to decide on the location of the Euro 2020 championships.
Pressure on Turkey Euro 2020 Bid
The Turkish FA's Euro 2020 bid will now come under intense pressure from Istanbul's Olympics campaign.
The IOC's experts said in a report published late Wednesday that hosting both events would present “significant risks”. President Jacques Rogge said earlier this month that hosting both the Olympics and Euros over one summer was not a viable option.
UEFA president Michel Platini restated today in Budapest where he is attending the FIFA Congress that if Turkey wins the Olympics it cannot host Euro 2020. But he would still vote for Turkey, if Istanbul's quest ended in failure.
Speaking to reporters in Quebec City where the IOC shortlisted the Olympic cities, IOC member from Turkey Ugur Erdener dismissed the possibility that there was any conflict with plans to seek the Euro 2020 tournament championships in his country.
"Olympic and Paralympic Games for 2020 is the first priority of my country, for
Turkey's Olympic bid officials celebrate making the IOC shortlist (Istanbul 2020)
our government," he said.
"There are not any problems concerning this subject. It's a unique idea for our young generation,” he said.
Istanbul, making a fifth bid for the Games, was praised in a report compiled by IOC experts for plans to put sport “at the center of its young people's future". The IOC said Istanbul presented a clear vision and concept for the 2020 Games with venues in Europe and Asia, separated by the Bosphorous.
Istanbul 2020 is considered a attractive prospect to win Olympics hosting rights, presenting the the IOC with the opportunity to host the Games on two continents for the first time.
No Joy for Qatar This Time
Qatar's attempts to add the 2020 Olympics to their FIFA 2022 World Cup failed after the Gulf nation's proposal was rejected by the IOC.
“We had a long ranging discussion,” the IOC's executive board member Richard Carrion told Around the Rings, World Football INSIDER's sister publication.
Baku, with extensive infrastructure needed “came up short in many, many areas” said Carrion, but claimed the choice to cut Doha was “more difficult”.
He said Doha's plan to schedule the Games in October and a clustering of events to avoid the desert heat in the oil-rich state made it difficult for the EB to approve this second bid from Qatar. Doha also failed to advance to the second round of the 2016 Olympics race.
Carrion said Doha's scheduling proposal would cause issues for broadcasters. The IOC report noted that there was a risk October Games in Doha would become a “weekend Olympic Games” with fewer people watching.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, told Around the Rings several hours before the announcement that he didn’t want to speculate on how NBC would deal with an October Olympics if Doha advanced.
“We’re not involved in the process,” he said. “We’re a spectator in this process and we don’t get between the bid cities and the IOC. That’s amongst them," said Lazarus.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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