BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has held talks with officials from Istanbul’s 2020 Olympics bid after Turkey also launched a surprise Euro 2020 candidacy, a source within the Olympic movement said on Sunday.
Istanbul has submitted its fifth Olympic bid in the last six times but a surprise candidacy from the country filed in April to host Euro 2020 - the only confirmed interest in that race to date - has raised serious concerns over whether Turkey can host both events in the space of two months.
“It is understood that Istanbul has already had discussions with the IOC on Turkey’s capacity and capability to host two major events in the same year,” said a source close to the 2020 bidding process.
“If the IOC administration in Lausanne give the green light to this notion, then Istanbul has 15 months to sell this unique prospect to the members,” the source told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.
“It is clear that Istanbul and Turkey are coming to terms with the fact that Turkey may win the UEFA 2020 European Championship by default.”
UEFA has set a May 15 deadline for expression of interest. Under its guidelines, Turkey would be awarded Euro 2020 if it remained the sole bidder.
The IOC, which will choose the winning 2020 summer Games bid in September 2013, has not publicly commented on Turkey’s decision to bid for Euro 2020 but officials have privately aired their concerns that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for a country to stage two of the world’s biggest sports events in the same summer.
“However as Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games remains a national priority in Turkey, it is clear that Istanbul will now need to change its message to the IOC,” the source said.
Istanbul is bidding alongside Tokyo, Madrid, Qatar’s Doha and Azeri capital Baku for the 2020 Olympics, with the IOC announcing the shortlist on May 23-25.
Editing by Clare Fallon