May 11 - Britain's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member, Sir Craig Reedie, has admitted that the organisation faces an unprecedented decision as they seek to establish whether Istanbul can organise both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and football's European Championships in the same year.
Istanbul is one of five cities in the race to host the 2020 Games, along with Baku, Doha, Madrid and Tokyo, following Rome's withdrawal in February.
But Turkey are also still the only country to have formally bid to host the European Championships in the same year, with the UEFA deadline for others to come forward closing next Tuesday (May 15).
IOC President Jacques Rogge yesterday warned Turkey that the terms of the Olympic and Paralympic Host City contract stipulate that they would not be able to hold another major sporting event in the same year.
UEFA President Michel Platini (pictured above with Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan), whose native France beat Turkey by one vote for the right to host Euro 2016, is keen for the country to stage the competition in eight years' time.
With that tournament expanding to feature 24 teams, the number of nations who have the infrastructure to stage the competition on their own will be reduced and thus places Turkey in a stronger position to host Euro 2020.
Speaking here, where the Olympic Torch was lit for this summer's Games in London, Sir Craig said of Istanbul: "They represent the IOC with a situation they have not had before.
"The IOC is going to have to work out whether they believe a city like Istanbul is keen to do this and whether it can run two at the one time or whether that would bar Istanbul.
"We await the technical report which will come to the Executive Board in Québec...it should be a good meeting."
Sir Craig, an IOC member since 1994 who played a leading role in London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, added he was sorry Rome had pulled out of the race to stage the 2020 Games, with the country's Prime Minister Mario Monti (pictured above) taking the decision after careful evaluation of the costs and benefits involved.
"I am glad there are five, but I would have preferred six," he said.
"I was very sorry that Rome pulled out, they had a fantastic Games in 1960.
"I went to their 50th anniversary which was a nice weekend in a marvellous city.
"It was a shame for the IOC to lose a city like that because of the economic difficulties."
Noting the strength of the other candidates, Sir Craig said: "It's a pretty strong field.
"Tokyo will come back having improved from last year, Madrid are coming back for the third time with an awful lot of the facilities already built.
"Doha has all the money in the world and is ready to promote and build, Baku is affluent and wants to use the Games for that purpose too, and Turkey is one of the fast developing candidates in Europe with a terrific sports interest so it's not a bad field."
Following the Executive Board ruling in Québec, the IOC will announce which cities will be put on the shortlist to stage the 2020 Games.
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