Ex-Soviet neighbours Azerbaijan and Georgia have renewed their joint bid to host UEFA EURO 2020, officials in Baku and Tbilisi said today. A joint bid was initially announced in March but Azerbaijan pulled out because it was also bidding for the 2020 Olympic Games, leaving Georgia to lobby for the football tournament alone.
But after Azerbaijan's Olympic hopes were dashed when capital Baku was eliminated from the running this week, they decided to renew its joint tilt for the European Championships in 2020 with Georgia. Azerbaijan are already hosting the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup between 22 September - 13 October this year.
"The football federations of Azerbaijan and Georgia have held consultations and have made an official application to (European football's governing body) UEFA to register our joint candidature for hosting EURO 2020," Azerbaijan's football federation said in a statement.
Georgia's sports ministry confirmed that the neighbours would bid together. "Azerbaijan is officially joining our application," sports minister Lado Vardzelashvili told journalists. "Together we have a better chance," he said.
Both small Caucasus states have been seeking in recent years to boost their international standing with ambitious projects. This year's European football championship will be jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, with the 2016 tournament to be held in France.
UEFA has said it will choose the winning bid for 2020 in late 2013 or early 2014.