Turkey, surprisingly has been considered the favorite to be the host of EURO 2032, instead of the reigning Champions, Italy.
Turkey has been reportedly tipped by UEFA as the frontrunner for hosting the next two editions of European championship, EURO 2032. It is quite a surprise since previously their hosting rival for the bid, which is also the defending champion, Italy, was regarded as the favorite instead. Apparently, there is a reason for this, at least according to the president of European football governing body himself, Alexander Ceferin. He stated bluntly while being interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, one of the well-known Italy-based sport mass media last week.
"Türkiye is a big competitor for Euro 2032 and is currently the favorite over Italy. At the moment, there is not even a stadium in Italy that can host the Champions League final. This is something incredible,” the UEFA president said. “I hope the [Italian] federation and the government would understand the importance of this [staduim issue] and take the required steps.”
What Ceferin has mentioned is sadly true. Despite the fact that Olimpico Roma stadium was picked to stage four games in EURO 2020 last year, none of the stadiums in Italy has been the host of UEFA Champions League final since 2009, which was in Roma. Such is definitely a setback FIGC needs to concern. On the contrary, Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul will be holding the UCL final next season. In fact, it is the second time for the 76,761-seat venue to stage UCL final after the 2004/05 edition.
Turkish Football Federation (TFF) launched their bid quite late alongside Russia in March. It was initially intended to be the contender of UK-Ireland and Italy to be the host of EURO 2028 and/or 2032. Ironically, Russian bid has been rejected due to UEFA and FIFA ban, whereas TFF’s submission is well-received, especially for the 2032 as UK-Ireland is more likely to be named for holding 2028 edition.
In the past few years, Turkey and its stadiums have been given the chance to host several important games, apart from UCL finals. In 2009, Fenerbahce’s homebase, Sukru Saracoglu stadium was named the host of UEFA Cup/Europa League final between Shakhtar Donestk and Werder Bremen. Then, in 2019, Besiktas’s Vodafone Park witnessed Mo Salah and Co’s victory over Chelsea on penalties in UEFA Super Cup. In 2013, Turkey was even the host of FIFA World Cup U20. At that time, seven stadiums were used to hold all the matches. They are Turk Telecom Arena in Istanbul, Kadir Has Stadium in Kayseri, Husein Avni Aker stadium in Trabzon, Ataturk Stadium in Bursa, Kamil Ocak Stadium in Gaziantep, Yeni Sehir stadium in Rize and Akdeniz University Stadium in Antalya.
At the moment, based on UEFA’s minimum capacity standard alone, which is 30,000 people, there are 17 venues ready to stage the match. There are even two more stadiums in Ankara and Izmir, which are likely to be built in the future. With such venues and infrastructure, it would not be surprising any longer if Turkey is officially picked as EURO 2032 host next September.