Erdogan’s Turkey, big loser of the concept of a split tournament

Barring a last-minute twist, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not expected to take a seat in the tribune of honor at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Friday, June 11, to attend the opening match of Euro 2021 football between Italy and the Turkey. On the other hand, the Turkish head of state will be in Baku, capital of his ally Azerbaijan, for the two other group matches of “his” selection, scheduled for June 16 and 20 against Wales and Switzerland.

A great football fan, nicknamed “Imam Beckenbauer” during his youth for his talent with the ball on his feet, Mr. Erdogan does not particularly carry the leaders of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in his heart. Did they not deprive Istanbul, on May 29, of the reception of the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City for the benefit of Porto, due to travel restrictions between Turkey and the United Kingdom? A purely decision ” Politics “, according to Mr. Erdogan.

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The leader keeps especially in the throat the five consecutive failures of the candidacy of his country to host the Euro, organized by UEFA. The last defeat to date took place in September 2018 against Germany, chosen to host the 2024 edition. Before that, the ticket formed by Turkey and Greece had not been retained for Euro 2008. Then , the Turks had suffered another setback against the tandem formed by Ukraine and Poland for the 2012 edition.

Mr. Erdogan also did not digest the short defeat (7 votes against 6) of Turkey against France, in 2010, during the vote to award Euro 2016. At the time Prime Minister, he had believed he could take his revenge by running for the organization of the 2020 edition. He was counting on a powerful ally: Michel Platini, then president of UEFA.

“Initially, Michel understood the great frustration of Turkey, which had lost in one voice Euro 2016, after losing the 2012 edition. He said he was ready to support a Turkish candidacy for the 2020 edition”, says William Gaillard, former adviser to Mr. Platini.

Risk of “white elephants”

In September 2011, Mr. Erdogan also decided to launch Istanbul in the race to organize the 2020 Summer Olympics. In May 2012, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) validated the Istanbul candidacy, like those of Madrid and Tokyo, allowing them to access the second phase of the award process.

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