FRANKFURT: Wolfgang Niersbach’s rush to make a grand gesture as his first act after becoming president of the German football federation has been halted in its tracks writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Within weeks of sliding across from the role of chief¬† executive to succeed Theo Zwanziger, the former sports journalist and media director has suggested Germany would be interested in responding positively to UEFA’s request for expressions of interest.

Now, however, the DFB – host organisers of the 2006¬† World Cup and the 2011 Women’s World Cup has had second thoughts.

In a volte-face statement, Niersbach said: “The thought of welcoming the continent’s best teams and their fans in Germany is naturally very attractive. But after the 2006 and 2011 World Cups it is the right of other countries to take over the hospitality role.”

Niersbach’s change of heart is thought to have been influenced by concern among senior politicians over hard-to-quantify sports bids in a difficult economic climate. Germany’s Munich was beaten in its bid to win host rights to the 2018 Winter Olympics and Olympic sports president Thomas Bach has all but ruled out any further Olympic bid – summer or winter – for a decade.

So far only Turkey – beaten by one vote by France for 2016 – has submitted a declared interest in hosting Euro 2020 while Azerbaijan and Georgia have said they are planning to file a joint bid. The deadline for a declaration of interest is May 15.

The tournament, first staged with four teams in 1960, will have 24 finalists from 2016 onwards which has cast an intimidatory shadow over the hosting.

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