Bulgaria will bid to host at least one match of the 2020 European football championship, the president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) Borislav Mihailov said on December 20. Earlier this month, the sport’s ruling body in Europe, Uefa, decided to hold the 2020 tournament in major cities across the continent.
The country met all the necessary criteria but one, namely a fitting stadium, but there was plenty of time until 2020 to redress that, Mihailov told reporters after a meeting of the BFU executive committee.
“Bulgaria certainly wants to host matches and I have lobbied [Uefa] for that. We meet all other criteria except for a stadium. But 2020 is far enough in the future, and we now have to find out what the [process] parameters will be,” Mihailov said.
Uefa’s executive committee is expected to outline the process for submitting match hosting bids next year, possibly as early as its next meeting in March 2013, which will be held in Sofia.
BFU has explored the possibility of making a joint bid with one of its neighbours (Romania being touted as the most likely candidate) in the past. The height of such speculation was in 2008, when Austria and Switzerland hosted the tournament, with Ukraine and Poland already picked to host the 2012 championship.
There was even talk of building up to three new football-only stadiums in Sofia and Plovdiv, with Bulgarian government officials meeting several prospective investors, but the global financial crisis has effectively put such undertakings on hold indefinitely.
(Vassil Levski National Stadium in Sofia. Photo: dimnikolov/flickr.com)