** Germany and England are front-runners as competing bidders for the closing three matches of Euro 2020 if UEFA – as expected – ratifies in January president Michel Platini’s proposal to scatter the finals across Europe writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
German federation officials spoke up enthusiastically about staging the semi-finals and final within DFB territory after Platini unveiled his idea to a surprised UEFA executive committee in Kyiv at the end of June.
Until then UEFA, which takes its bloated 24-team 2016 finals to France, had been dissatisfied with the response to its invitation for interest in hosting 2020.
Turkey was more interested in winning the Olympics that year for Istanbul while no other mainstream nation was among the inquirers (Azerbaijan and Georgia talked of a joint bid as well as Ireland, Scotland and Wales of a three-way mix).
After the success of the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley, UEFA took the unprecedented step of handing the north London venue the 2013 final as well. Wembley hosted UEFA’s Champions League Final in 2011 and will do so again at the end of this season, as a feature of the FA’s 150th birthday celebrations.
However, England is unlikely to have a clear run. Sources close to the DFB have indicated that Germany– after deciding against a bid for an orthodox 2020 tournament – would submit a claim for the ‘triple crown’. Semi-finals could be proposed for Hamburg and Munich with the final in Berlin’s Olympic stadium which hosted the World Cup Final in 2006.
= = = =