After being eliminated from the race to host 2020 Olympic Games, Baku announced it had submitted a bid to co-host the Euro 2020 Football Championship with neighboring Georgia.
Georgia submitted on May 14 to UEFA a formal expression of interest to host Euro 2020. From the very beginning Tbilisi wanted to make a joint bid with Azerbaijan, but the latter was focused on its now already failed bid to host the 2020 summer Olympics.
“Following consultations with the Georgian Football Federation we have agreed to make a joint bid for hosting 2020 European Championship,” the Azerbaijani Football Federation said in a statement on its website on May 25, adding that the football federations of the two countries have already notified about their intention the European football governing body, UEFA.
Turkey had been the only bidder for the Euro 2020 until Scotland, Ireland and Wales expressed interest in a joint bid and Georgia also made a formal expression of interest a day before deadline expired on May 15. UEFA has since reopened the biding process for another 18 months; the host of Euro 2020 is expected to be announced in early 2014.
Georgia has welcomed Azerbaijan’s decision to join its bid.
“Joint bid will ease efforts to overcome challenges related with infrastructure, stadiums and hotels,” President of the Georgian Football Federation, Zviad Sichinava, said on May 25.
Georgia’s largest stadium, the Boris Paichadze National Stadium, has the capacity of about 55,000 seats and another large football stadium in Tbilisi, the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, has the capacity of about 25,000. Kutaisi stadium’s capacity is 18,000. Georgia said major overhaul of its stadiums, as well as construction of new ones, including in Black Sea resort town of Batumi, would be carried out.
Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, which is Azerbaijan’s largest stadium, located in Baku, has up to 30,000 seats.
According to Euro 2020 stadium requirements, a host nation should have at least two stadiums with the capacity of 50,000 seats; three stadiums with 40,000 seats and four stadiums with 30,000 seats.