The Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales will submit an expression of interest to host Euro 2020, the Football Association of Ireland have announced.
The countries have told UEFA that they would be interested in bidding to host the European Championships on a joint basis.
Turkey have also informed UEFA that they want to want host the tournament, and reports in Georgia today say the former Soviet republic is interested in a solo bid.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said in a statement: “The FAI has confirmed that it will join the Scottish FA and the Welsh FA in putting forward an expression of interest to host UEFA Euro 2020.
“The expression of interest is preliminary after the principle was discussed and is being put forward by the three associations so that the opportunity can be explored in more detail.
“At this stage no bids would be expected or required by UEFA for at least 18 months.”
The Scottish FA issued a similar statement saying: ``We can confirm that we have had initial discussions on the principle of a joint bid with both Wales and the Republic of Ireland and have declared our interest to UEFA in order that we can fully explore the opportunity in more detail.
“At this stage no bids are expected by UEFA in relation to Euro 2020. These will not be required for at least 18 months.“
Jonathan Ford, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, stressed the countries had not yet submitted a bid.
Ford said: “It is not a bid, it’s a declaration of interest and that will allow us to obtain the information from UEFA so that we can fully assess and determine, independently and together, whether we should submit a bid.”
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 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.
Georgia have confirmed interest in hosting the tournament despite their hopes of Azerbaijan joining them in a joint bid being dashed.
Lado Vardzelashvili, the Georgian sports minister told a news conference today that they would proceed with a solo bid after Azerbaijan decided to concentrate on a bid by Baku for the 2020 Olympics.
“Azerbaijan has made a bid to host the Olympics so Georgia will continue bidding for Euro 2020 independently,” Vardzelashvili was quoted by media in Georgia today.
The former Soviet republic may struggle to fulfil the UEFA criteria for stadiums but Vardzelashvili insisted that construction of “ultra-modern stadium” will start this year.