MOSCOW, September 12 (R-Sport) – The Russian Football Association formally declared Thursday it would propose St. Petersburg as a host city for the 13-nation Euro 2020 football tournament.
Euro 2020 will be held in cities across Europe for the first time under an initiative from UEFA president Michel Platini. One country will host the semifinals and final, and the other 12 will hold a mix of group stage and knockout matches. Bidding ends Thursday.
The Russian FA said on Facebook that its executive committee had "resolved to propose ... the city of St. Petersburg."
The city known as Russia's "Window on Europe" joins Budapest, Belgrade and Istanbul, which have also reportedly submitted bids for Euro 2020. Istanbul is considered the favorite to host the semifinals and final after Germany retracted a rival bid.
St. Petersburg's planned 69,000-seater stadium will host a semifinal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and will also be the new home of club side Zenit St. Petersburg.
It is due to open in 2015, seven years behind schedule following a litany of delays, and is projected to cost around $1.1 billion, more than double the original estimate.
The question of whether Russia would bid for Euro 2020 was thrown into doubt last week when Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, a FIFA executive committee member, said the country's chances of winning would be "near zero," with the tournament coming so soon after the World Cup.
That was flatly denied by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who told R-Sport on Tuesday that hosting the World Cup would be an advantage to any Russian bid, as it would be a guarantee that all the necessary infrastructure would be ready.
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