NYON: Political instability, even six years out, has cast a shadow over bids by Russia and Israel to host matches in the pan-European Euro 2020 finals.
The concerns are raised in a bids assessment analysis released by European federation UEFA ahead of its September 19 selection of the 13 host cities.
With St Petersburg and Jerusalem among the applicants, UEFA noted that the political situation in Israel was “complex” and that of Russia “increasingly complex.”
This uncertainty emerged even though world federation FIFA has insisted there are no obstacles to the staging of the 2018 World Cup in Russia despite political angst over the Crimea and Ukraine disputes.
Israel is highly unlikely to be chosen considering that UEFA, in July, barred the playing of international competitive matches in the country during the Gaza conflict. But this is not the only concern.
UEFA said: “The Israeli political situation is described in the bid as complex, an assessment confirmed by independent institutions. It is acknowledged that considerable investments would be required for such a project to be implemented, without, however, any further details being provided.”
It added, concerning redevelopment and expansion of the 32,000-capacity Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, that “the venue has not provided any relevant certificates or evacuation plan.”
Twelve winning bidders will each host three group-stage matches and a single knockout match from the last-16 or quarterfinals rounds.
England (Wembley) and Germany (Munich) have submitted bids for the climatic semi-finals and final. Wembley is favourite after talks between the English and German football bodies.