ZURICH: The fascination over Turkey’s sporting ambitions will erupt back into focus next Monday when national sports leaders and world football federation FIFA mark less than one year until the country hosts the World U-20 Youth Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Turkish football federation wants to host football’s European Championship in 2020 . . . the same year in which the country’s Olympics leaders are hoping Istanbul can stage the Olympic Games. Both bid teams claim to have full and committed support from the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

Both European football president Michel Platini and Olympic IOC president Jacques Rogge have said the country can not have both events. Controversy faded after Istanbul was confirmed in May, by the IOC, as one of three candidates for 2020: the others are Madrid and Tokyo.

The IOC decides in September next year, six months before UEFA must make its mind between Turkey and co-hosts bids from Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Azerbaijan and Georgia.

But the football hosting potential of Turkey swings back into view next Monday when the Ckiragan Palace hosts the unveiling by the local organisers and FIFA of the official emblem for the competition as well as identites of the seven host cities and match schedule.  

The exact anniversary of one year out was today [June 21] for what will be the largest international football tournament ever played in the country. Some 24 teams will play 52 matches in 23 days.

Attending the event will be TFF president Yıldırım Demirören and general secretary, Emre Alkin.  Also invited are the Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kılıç, General Director of Youth and Sports Mehmet Baykan, Turkish national team manager, players Burak Yılmaz and Olcan Adı as well as governors and mayors of the host cities.

Suat Kilic has also, in his ministerial role, been playing an up-front role in pressing Istanbul’s Olympic bid.

All of the bidding politics are being played out against the backdrop of a long-running saga concerning football and basketball matchfixing allegations.

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