Will ‘Imam Beckenbauer’ have the edge on Germany for Euro 2024?
Germany and Turkey both want to host Euro 2024 and the deadline for applications is now up. In five months, on September 27, the 18-member executive committee of UEFA will decide who should host Euro 2024.
The deadline for applications expired on Friday. Germany’s delegation went to UEFA’s Nyon HQ on Tuesday to file the paperwork; Turkey’s followed on Thursday.
Turkey’s chances are considered decent — because of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and despite his recent human rights record.
Over the past few years, the Turkish President has either renovated or built from scratch 30 football stadiums.
Even now, six years before the tournament, Turkey’s stadiums would be ready for the Euros. That’s despite a limited domestic market — average attendance for a Turkish Super League game isn’t even 10,000 spectators. The Turkish President is also a big influencer in the world of Turkish football.
Erdogan’s relationship with football is a special one. Formerly a semi-professional player, purportedly nicknamed “Imam Beckenbauer” by his teammates, he wants his country to finally host a major sports event. Turkey has already applied for the Olympics five times and for the Euros on three occasions. Ninth time is meant to be the charm.
If you ask fans around the stadium, you’ll hear positive receptions: “That would be great for our country. A very important advertisement,” or: “We’re ready to do whatever’s necessary to get it.
“Talking behind the scenes to representatives of European football, they repeatedly hint that Turkey’s chances are good. Erdogan’s political influence seems to play a role here. Despite the strained human rights situation within and around his borders, Erdogan doesn’t lack for friends, especially in eastern Europe. Admittedly, one of UEFA’s criteria for the tender is upholding human rights, but quite how large a role this consideration plays in decisions is very much up for debate.