Euro 2008 success spurs Scandinavians
The success of Austrian and Swiss hosts of the Euro 2008 is inspiring their Nordic cousins to get in the act.
Stockholm -- Sweden and Norway plan a joint bid to host the Euro 2016 football tournament, a leading Swedish football official said this week.
Sune Hellstromer, general secretary of the Swedish football federation SFF, told Stockholm radio station SR that the necessary documents would likely be sent to the ruling body UEFA in autumn.
Hellstromer said that an expected increase of teams from 16 to 24 would pose no problem. He said that each country could easily provide four suitable stadiums for the tournament.
At present Sweden is rebuilding its national football stadium at Rasunda, whilst top clubs Hammarby and Malmo have put in place plans which will see them playing in 30,000 capacity arenas in the next few years. Norway too has seen an extensive building program in recent years and a successful bid could potentially lead to further development.
Sweden has previously hosted the 1992 championships which were played with eight teams and the 1958 world cup where a young Pele shot his way onto the world stage. Norway has never hosted a large football tournament before but has successfully staged the winter Olympics on two occasions.
Hosting the tournament would be a welcome break for the Norwegians. In recent years they have struggled to qualify for major tournaments but as hosts they would automatically qualify.
France, the home country of UEFA chief Michel Platini, are also set to bid for the 2016 championships. There is also the possibility of a joint bid by a combination of Scotland and Wales or the Republic of Ireland. Scottish Football Association chief Gordon Smith is particularly keen on bringing the championships to Britain.
The 2012 championships are to be played in Poland and Ukraine, but moving it elsewhere remains an option, with Spain on standby if the Eastern European partners cannot fulfil their commitments to improved infrastructure and stadiums.
The European championships have been co-hosted by nations twice, by Belgium and the Netherlands in 2000 and the last edition in Austria and Switzerland which ended on Sunday.