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Wales and Scotland ditch Euro bid

Millennium Stadium
The Millennium Stadium is the only Welsh ground to meet requirements

Scotland and Wales have ditched plans for a joint bid to host Euro 2016 because of the global economic crisis.

With European governing body Uefa set to expand the event to 24 teams for 2016, there was concern that the costs would have been prohibitive.

Both countries would have had to spend many millions upgrading and building new stadia for the tournament.

Federations have until 9 March to apply to host Euro 2016, with only France and Italy currently in the running.

France have submitted an application, while the Italian football federation have declared they will do so.

Talks over launching a joint bid had been held between the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales last year.

But the only ground in Wales that currently meets Uefa's requirements for a major event is Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Deputy first minister and minister for economy and transport Ieuan Wyn Jones said the money required was excessive.

"The cost of bringing other venues up to this standard would run into tens of millions of pounds," he said.

"In the current economic and financial climate, this is unaffordable."

A Scottish FA spokesman added: "The Scottish FA can confirm that we will not be pursuing a joint bid for the 2016 European Championships.

"The infrastructure required for the new expanded tournament makes it extremely difficult for us to even consider hosting.

"Quite apart from the stadia required, the pressure on transport, training camps and accommodation would be massive.

"We do want to host a major championships here in Scotland but, particularly in these tough economic times, we have to be realistic about the huge costs involved.

The only country that's put their name forward so far to host the championships in 2016 is France, so it shows you that it's the big nations that are going to be bidding for these championships in future

Rob Shorthouse
SFA head of communications

"Our focus for now is on qualifying for the big events in our own right."

SFA head of communications Rob Shorthouse believes the expansion of the tournament means only Europe's largest nations will be able to act as hosts in future.

"The only country that's put their name forward so far to host the championships in 2016 is France, so it shows you that it's the big nations that are going to be bidding for these championships in future," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We always knew it was going to be difficult. We always said as soon as the championship was expanded to 24 teams that would immediately rule us out of ever doing it of by ourselves and it would only ever be a joint bid.

"Even heading back to the World Cup in Germany, with over a million people in fan parks - that's a huge burden to put on cities in Scotland like Glasgow and Edinburgh and on Cardiff in Wales."

Scotland and Wales are famed for their hospitality and Shorthouse believes it could have been a memorable spectacle.

"Scotland would put on a hell of a show, it would be a great championships and as we go forward maybe they'll be other opportunities to do it again," he said.

Austria and Switzerland staged Euro 2008, won by Spain, with the 2012 tournament set to be jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine.



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see also
France enters Euro 2016 running
13 Feb 09 |  Europe
Scots and Welsh eye Euro 2016 bid
03 Dec 08 |  Internationals


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