FAI chief executive, John Delaney. INPHO/Cathal Noonan
2020 vision

'We'd depend on GAA and IRFU' - Delaney says Euro 2020 bid feasible

Irish soccer chiefs have made ‘an expression of interest’ with Wales and Scotland.

FAI CHIEF EXECUTIVE, John Delaney says that the association have merely entered an expression of interest to host the 2020 European Championships with prospective joint bidders, Scotland and Wales.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the FAI revealed that they will join forces with their British counterparts in exploring a bid.

However, a decision on the destination of the tournament in eight years’ time will not be taken until late 2013 or 2014.

“It’s only an expression of interest at the moment,” Delaney said on RTÉ radio this morning. “What happened there is the Scottish approached us two weeks ago and asked would we look at co-hosting Euro 2020 with the Welsh and themselves.

“So when we went to UEFA last week — I went to the Europa League final — and took soundings from the top UEFA people. They said listen we’d love you you expressed an interest because we want a bidding process. Turkey at that stage were the only country looking at bidding.

“So at this stage it’s Georgia, Turkey and ourselves have expressed an interest. Because of that, anybody else can enter a bid. So the Germans, the English or anybody else can enter a bid.  And I think from the FAI’s perspective, who’s going to look at bidding for it. And then we’ll take a view.

Political football

Whether or not the FAI decide to proceed with a bid for the tournament, Delaney insists the bid is feasible — though it would depend on the cooperation of the GAA and IRFU.

“In total you need nine or 10 [stadiums] so that’s do-able,” he told host Pat Kenny,  ”We’d be depending on the support of the GAA and the IRFU — if you were to look at Thomond Park, another stadium.  So of course you would and that’s something you can’t presume either.

“In fairness the GAA were great with the opening of Croke Park. I rang Paraic Duffy the other morning, my counterpart in the GAA just to tell him that this was hitting the headlines. He appreciated the call, it was only a courtesy call. But we’ve gone no further with the GAA or the IRFU with Thomond Park.

“So it’s early days. I want to see, who else would bid. If one of the bigger countries come in would we have a chance of doing it. Is the bid feasible, could it be done? Yes, it could between ourselves, Scotland and Wales. Would it be a winning bid? That’s something you have to wait and see as to who else gets involved.

UEFA yesterday confirmed meanwhile that countries will still be able to bid for Euro 2020 — even if they did not declare an interest before Tuesday’s deadline.

European football’s governing body said they will now launch a new process which will allow any of the 53 member associations to submit a bid. The  process will last approximately 18 months with a decision expected in 2014.

Hosting Euro 2020 would make us happier, not richer

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