France to host Euro 2016 as UEFA plays safe
Paris: France will host Euro 2016 after finishing ahead of close rivals Turkey and rank outsiders Italy in a UEFA vote on Friday.
France President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared at the ceremony to support his country`s bid as the French, who have also hosted two World Cups, were awarded the tournament for the third time.
Turkey were bidding to host their first major football tournament while Italy`s chances had been written off after a critical review of their bid following UEFA`s inspection visits.
Problems and delays in Poland and Ukraine, who will jointly host Euro 2012, may have persuaded UEFA`s executive committee to avoid choosing Turkey, an untried country.
The Turkish government had promised to invest one billion euros ($1.23 billion) all in public money, in stadiums for the event. It would also need to spend an estimated 20 billion euros on national transport infrastructure, including high speed trains.
The French budget for stadiums was 1.7 billion euros, of which 39 percent will come from public investment. UEFA`s review of the bids said around half of the required private funding had been secured already.
France previously hosted the inaugural European championship in 1960 -- a mini-tournament featuring only four teams -- and the 1984 event, which they won with a team captained by Michel Platini, the current UEFA president.
Platini sat alongside Sarkozy during the presentations of the three bids.
Sarkozy said that France wanted to host the event because of, rather in spite of, the worldwide economic problems.
"When I spoke to the French Football Federation, we asked ourselves whether we wanted to be candidates in the middle of a crisis," he told the ceremony during the French presentation.
"But sport is an answer to the crisis. It is because we are in a crisis that we need sport. Nothing is more powerful than sport and, within sport, nothing is more powerful that football."