Turkey's only 'official' 2020 bid: Rogge
Olympics chief Jacques Rogge has declared that Turkey is officially bidding for the right to host just one major sporting event in 2020 -- and it is the Olympics.
The country's largest metropolis Istanbul has in fact sought to host both the Olympics and European Football Championship in the same year, but Rogge told a press conference yesterday that only the Olympic bid is backed by the government.
"We know that there is a bid from the Turkish football federation to stage the 2020 European championships. This bid is not yet accepted by UEFA and this bid does not have today the financial guarantees of the government," Rogge explained.
"When we decided to grant permission to Istanbul... to go to candidate phase (to host the 2020 Olympics), we based ourselves on the actual situation where in Turkey there is only one official bid, which is the Olympic bid," he said.
On Wednesday, Istanbul as well as Tokyo and Madrid made the first cut among bidders to host the 2020 Olympics, as the International Olympic Committee announced that Baku and Doha were dropped from the running.
Many believe that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former footballer, favors hosting the UEFA competition over the Olympics.
But the head of Istanbul's bid Hasan Arat insisted: "Our priority is the Olympics." AFP SSC