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Originally published Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 9:03 AM

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Turkey submits bids to UEFA to host Euro 2020

Turkey submitted a bid Tuesday to host soccer's 2020 European Championship, another step by the country to become a major sports player following its candidacy to hold the Olympics in the same year.

The Associated Press

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ANKARA, Turkey —

Turkey submitted a bid Tuesday to host soccer's 2020 European Championship, another step by the country to become a major sports player following its candidacy to hold the Olympics in the same year.

European soccer's governing body said a decision will be made in late 2013 or early 2014. The International Olympic Committee will vote on the 2020 Summer Games in September 2013.

UEFA President Michel Platini has said he would back Turkey to host Euro 2020 only if Istanbul loses the Olympic bid.

Two years ago, Turkey was edged out by France to host the expanded 24-nation Euro 2016. Officials complained that Platini, who is French and was not allowed to vote, had favored his home country.

There are concerns that bidding for Euro 2020 could jeopardize Turkey's chances of winning the Olympic rights. The Olympic bid team said the Euro 2020 plan "does not change any aspect of our bid."

"Turkey's Prime Minister, every level of government and every party is aligned behind the bid team and that unequivocal support will remain guaranteed throughout the bid process," a statement said.

"Turkey has already guaranteed that if Istanbul is selected as the host city for the 2020 Olympic Games in September 2013, no other important national or international event will take place in Istanbul or its vicinity around the games period."

Yildirim Demiroren, head of the Turkish Football Federation, said the government has also backed projects to speed stadium construction in several cities and to improve transportation infrastructure.

The federation's bid comes despite Turkish soccer being ensnared in a match-fixing scandal involving more than a dozen games last season.

The chairman of defending league champion Fenerbahce is among 93 club officials, players and trainers on trial. The scandal resulted in Fenerbahce being barred from the Champions League.

Fenerbahce believes the Turkish federation was pressured by UEFA to deny its entry to Champions League, and is challenging both soccer organizations at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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