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France and Italy may join forces
Published : 05 Mar 2009 11:00:00
France may submit a joint bid with Italy to host Euro 2016 - but they face competition from Sweden and Norway's joint application.Potential candidates have until March 9 to officially inform UEFA, European football's governing body, of their decision to submit an application.France and Italy are two nations who have declared an interest in being tournament hosts but there is a chance they could join forces over the next few days.Secretary for sport Bernard Laporte told L'Equipe: "It's the federation who will decide and it will do what it wants. But me, I prefer to share and to win."I hear people speaking of this idea of a joint organisation and we will talk about it during our meeting (with his Italian counterpart)."The ideal thing would be to go it alone but if an association is the price to pay and if we can't do anything else, I would not put any obstacles in front of it."French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes insists his country have the potential to organise a European Championships by themselves but appears open to the idea of submitting a joint bid, as a last resort.However Frederic Thiriez, the president of the French league, indicated last month he would be against the idea."France doesn't need anybody," he said. "We are big enough to organise a world event. We have the ability, the experience. It is a question of prestige."Sweden and Norway have also announced plans to make a joint bid for Euro 2016.UEFA will announce on April 1 if those countries who have declared an interest in being hosts can go forward with their bids. The winner will be chosen in May next year.Both France (1998) and Italy (1990) have hosted recent World Cups, while the Italians lost out to Poland and Ukraine for the right to host Euro 2012.