Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bulgaria and Romania bid to co-host Euro 2020 football championship

The Sofia Echo


Bulgaria and Romania have proposed to Uefa president Michelle Platini that they co-host the 2020 European football championship, Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily quoted Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Miahailov as saying on November 12 2008.

Mihailov made the statement after he met Platini in Sofia the same day.

"The year 2020 is far away but our idea needs a lot of work" Mihailov said. Platini said that the idea of the two countries had to receive strong and committed support from their governments.

The idea of two countries from the Balkans hosting the event is not a new one but it is the first time it has been officially raised and discussed publicly. Ukraine and Poland will be the first Central and Eastern European states to co-host the event in 2012 although both countries are having trouble meeting the criteria due to the poor infrastructure. The global financial crisis is not helping much either.

Infrastructure is expected to be a serious issue for the candidacy of Bulgaria and Romania too, because the two countries have only one bridge connecting them over the Danube River, linking Bulgaria's Rousse with the Romanian capital Bucharest. The two countries have a land border several hundred kilometers long, but much will depend on how fast the second Bulgarian-Romanian bridge will be constructed.

Bulgaria has a long and negative record in constantly applying to host a major world sports event. The country has been trying for several decades to be the host of a Winter Olympic Games, but as the years pass, its chances become ever smaller, mainly because of the lack of a general strategy and investment plan backed by the government.

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