The Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales have formally declared an interest in hosting Euro 2020, it can be disclosed.
The countries have told UEFA that they would be interested in bidding to host the European Championships on a three-way basis.
So far Turkey are the only other nation to inform UEFA that they want to want host the tournament.
A source close to UEFA has confirmed that a written expression of interest from the three ’Celtic’ countries has been submitted to the European governing body.
UEFA have a deadline of midnight tonight for any other declarations of interest.
Bidders would need to put forward up to 10 stadiums to host matches in the European Championships, which is being expanded from 16 teams to 24 from 2016.
Scotland and Wales would struggle to provide that number of stadiums to satisfy UEFA requirements but Ireland’s involvement would cover the shortfall.
The formal declaration of interest does not commit the Celtic countries to proceeding with a bid however – a decision is not due to be taken by UEFA for 18 months.
The countries have not fared well in the past in bidding for the tournament. Scotland and the Republic of Ireland bid jointly for Euro 2008 but were one of the first to be eliminated, and Scotland and Wales considered bidding jointly for Euro 2016 but decided against it.
Turkey’s bid is in some disarray already because their FA has been engulfed by allegations of corruption and match-fixing in Turkish football, and it also conflicts with Istanbul’s bid to land the Olympics in the same year.
UEFA president Michel Platini had signalled he would support’s Turkey bid but only if Istanbul fails in its Olympic bid.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said the idea of bidding for Euro 2020 had been discussed but would not confirm or deny whether an expression of interest had been made.
Regan told www.insidethegames.biz: “I’m not able to comment publicly at this stage because it has not gone to our board but there will be an exchange of correspondence before the deadline.
“It’s obviously something that has been discussed.”
Asked if Scotland and Wales would be able to meet the UEFA criteria for stadiums, Regan replied: “There are other ways of skinning a cat and alternative ways of being considered for a major tournament.”
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