4 bidders in race to host 2016 Euros

Four candidates are in the running to host the European soccer championship in 2016.

Individual bids from France, Italy and Turkey and a joint proposal from Sweden-Norway were made before the deadline of midnight on Monday.

UEFA said in a statement Tuesday it would consider “any previous experience of relevant member associations, cities and venues in organizing multi-venue sports events” before confirming an official list of bidders in the next month.

Candidates must then prepare a bid dossier by Feb. 15, 2010. UEFA’s executive committee will choose the host in May 2010. The timetable gives the 2016 host six years to prepare for the tournament — one more year than Poland and Ukraine have been granted in their troubled buildup to Euro 2012.

The 2016 tournament will feature 24 teams after UEFA decided last year to increase the field from 16. UEFA requires the 2016 host to provide nine stadiums each holding at least 30,000 spectators. A 50,000-capacity stadium is needed for the final.

Each of the four bids intends to use the tournament as a catalyst for major investment in building and upgrading stadiums.

Sweden hosted the Euros in 1992 when just four stadiums were needed. It was the last time only eight teams took part before the tournament was doubled in size to 16 at Euro 1996. Norway has never hosted a European championship and has qualified only once. It was knocked out in the group stage of the 2000 tournament played in the Netherlands and Belgium.

To read the full Associated Press article, click here.

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