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Turkey set to realise long-term goal with bid to host Euro 2032




After four failed bids in the recent past, Turkey is finally set to be awarded the hosting rights for a major international football tournament this week when UEFA decides where Euro 2032 will be staged.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long dreamt of hosting one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.


Now he is set to finally get the chance, despite the country being mired in an economic crisis with the annual inflation rate hovering near 60 percent.

On Tuesday, UEFA’s executive committee meets to announce the hosts for the 2028 and 2032 European Championships.

Turkey withdrew its bid to host in 2028 in order to focus all its effort on a united proposal with Italy to stage the tournament four years later.

That bid has no rivals.

Erdogan is not feigning an interest in what is Turkey’s most popular sport — in his younger years he played at semi-professional level and he is an avowed supporter of Fenerbahce, the Istanbul giants who are one of the country’s biggest clubs.


Winning the right to host the biggest sporting event in Europe would be one of the crowning moments of his time in power.

It would also be highly symbolic in political terms.

“In modern times, sport has always been perceived as a means for Turkey to forge its own legitimacy and compete equally with the rest of the western world,” says Daghan Irak, a lecturer in media communication at the University of Huddersfield in England.

“Erdogan has not diverted from that historic strategy.”

Erdogan became prime minister at the end of 2002, at the same time Turkey’s joint bid with Greece — during a period of improving relations between the two countries — to host Euro 2008 failed.


UEFA awarded that tournament to Austria and Switzerland.

Turkey then went out on its own in a bid to host Euro 2012, only to miss out to a joint Ukraine-Poland candidacy, while in 2016 it lost out to France.

They then missed out to Germany for Euro 2024, with UEFA’s evaluation of the bid highlighting concerns about the country’s “lack of an action plan in the area of human rights”.

After four failed attempts, and having joined forces with Italy, the lack of any rival contenders means Turkey is now sure to get its chance.

That is despite human rights concerns still lingering following Erdogan’s re-election as President in May — he has not shown any clemency towards, or announced an amnesty for, tens of thousands of political opponents who have been imprisoned.


Turkey’s Court of Cassation recently upheld a sentence of life imprisonment for Osman Kavala, a benefactor and philanthropist accused of financing anti-government protests in 2013.

Kavala will serve his sentence in isolation and has no possibility of early release.

“Unfortunately these actions continue to undermine Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU,” said Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey.

Previous Turkish bids have also fallen down due to questions about stadiums in the country.

However, that is no longer a problem according to Bagis Erten, a contributor to Socrates magazine who teaches sports communication at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.


“If the AKP (the ruling party since 2002) know how to do one thing, it is build,” he says.

“They love that! We really have a lot of good stadiums now.”

Erten cites examples in medium-sized cities like Trabzon, on the Black Sea, Konya and Eskisehir in Central Anatolia, and Izmir, the country’s third-largest city, situated on the Aegean Sea coast.

“Our stadiums are now better prepared than in a lot of other countries,” he adds.

He believes Turkey could not bid to host a global event like the Olympics, “but it is absolutely in a position to host the Euro, in economic and security terms as well as for it’s footballing culture and the crowds that go to matches”.


In June it hosted the UEFA Champions League final, when Manchester City beat Inter Milan at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.

“Turkey is ready now,” Erten insists.

And in terms of integration into Europe, Irak adds, “it is much easier for Erdogan’s Turkey to organise an international football tournament than to respect the verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights”.

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Shadab Khan opens up about Babar Azam’s resignation from captaincy




Pakistan all-rounder, Shadab Khan, has expressed his perspective on Babar Azam’s recent choice to relinquish the captaincy across all formats of the national cricket team.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Shadab conveyed his admiration for Babar’s decision and conveyed his heartfelt best wishes. 

The leg-spinner also shared positive sentiments regarding the newly appointed T20I captain for the national side, Shaheen Shah Afridi.


“Look, everyone has their own decision, and Babar has stepped down. We send him our best wishes. We’ve had a great time with him as the captain for Pakistan. Now, Shaheen has taken on the role, and we’re excited about it. We’ve witnessed his [Shaheen’s] captaincy in the PSL, and it feels great. Let’s see how it goes playing under his captaincy for the first time; it will give an idea of how much fun it is, and I am very excited to play under Shaheen’s captaincy,” Shadab said.

On November 15th, Babar relinquished his captaincy following a meeting with Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee.

After stepping down, Shan Masood was appointed as the Test captain of the Pakistan Men’s Cricket Team, and Shaheen Shah Afridi was named as the T20I captain by the PCB.

Shaheen’s first task as the T20I captain for the Men in Green side will be leading the team against New Zealand in a five-match T20 series scheduled to take place from January 12 to January 21, 2024.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series schedule:

  • January 12: New Zealand vs Pakistan – First T20I in Auckland
  • January 14: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Second T20I in Hamilton
  • January 17: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Third T20I in Dunedin
  • January 19: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Fourth T20I in Christchurch
  • January 21: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Fifth T20I in Christchurch