The UEFA Euro Commission picked Germany to host the 2024 UEFA Euro Cup with 12 to 4 votes against Turkey. The choice has raised questions, given Germany's 2006 World Cup scandal and allegations of racism in its national football team.
Germany will host the UEFA European Soccer Championship in 2024, the UEFA's executive board announced in Nyon on Thursday, naming the German Football Association (DFB) as the winner of Euro bidding race.
The UEFA Commission voted 12 votes in favour of Germany, while Turkey received four. This will be the fourth major football event the DFB will hold after the 1974 and 2006 World Cup, and the 1988 European Championship.
The decision has triggered several questions, however, and the most compelling ones are related to Turkey's bid and Germany's preparations.
Both countries applied with 12 stadiums. While the stadiums in Germany are fully functional, Turkey is in the processing of renovating three stadiums and the construction work is almost near completion. During the bidding, the three dysfunctional stadiums was seen as a disadvantage for Turkey, even though the country had six long years left to complete the construction.
Turkey had a significant advantage over Germany when it comes to all the listed stadiums. They are new, built in the last five years and equipped with modern technology. The oldest one is Ataturk Stadium built in 2002, but currently going through a major renovation.
Compared to Turkey's stadiums listed for the games, German stadiums are old with renovation dating back to pre-2006 World Cup years. Most of the country's stadiums are at least 40 years old.
For a football fan, ease of transportation from one stadium to another during the big games are of utmost importance. Since each Turkish city is equipped with at least one airport, it would have been easy for football fans to go back and forth between listed stadiums.
Germany's World Cup scandal
Over the years, the DFB has systematically covered up indications of dubious transactions or even corruption in the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany. According to information from the German Suddeutscher Zeitung, NDR and WDR, this has been proven by the results of the internal investigations conducted by the law firm Freshfields, which is investigating the World Cup affair on behalf of the DFB.
One of the witnesses, the former Vice Secretary General Stefan Hans, speaks of a "high-fall" of the cover-up. The payment of 6.7 million euros, which is at the heart of the DFB controversy, has been shown as "conclusive" in the accounts. And the DFB claims that the documents "could not be seen" so as to hide the illegal payment.
Since the selection committee regarded 'Respect of Human Rights' as one of the main reasons to grant the hosting rights to Germany, many wonder why DFB's corruption and bribery scandal did not account for Germany's disadvantage.
The Ozil Case and the DFB
The DFB and its president Reinhard Grindel received harsh criticism for not addressing racism in the German World Cup team this year. One of Germany's most successful and well-known players, Mesut Ozil, cited racism and unfair criticism as one of the main reasons behind his resignation from the German soccer team.
Instead of standing up for Ozil's rights, Grindel allowed Ozil to leave, refusing to admit that the German football team was plagued with racism.
The DFB continues to be haunted by many unresolved issues, including racism and xenophobia, and Grindel is not being held accountable for his recent failures.
The risk and security
Terrorist attacks in Istanbul by Daesh and the PKK in 2014 and 2015 made many foreign visitors reluctant to come to Turkey. Nevertheless, after Turkey started its operations in northern Syria and implemented peaceful measures in south-eastern provinces, there have been no terror attacks on Turkish soil since 2016. In 2018 alone, Turkey has already had over 18 million tourist and the number is going to increase by the year end.
Contrary to Turkey's social and security environment, Germany is grappling with the rise of neo-Nazi wave, which has translated into the attacks on common people. In 2017, these violent groups carried out at least 2200 attacks against refugees. The street violence and far-right vigilantism is something the German government will have to face during a month-long international football event like the EURO 2024.
In view of all the downsides to Germany becoming the host of the event, how fair was UEFA boards decision?