Racism, bribery shadow Germany's EURO 2024 candidacy

By Erbil Basay and Cuneyt Karadag

ISTANBUL (AA) – Germany is facing racism- and bribery-related issues and widespread protests ahead of a UEFA decision on the host country for the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship (EURO 2024).

The UEFA Executive Committee will make a choice Thursday between Turkey and Germany.

In April, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and the German Football Association (DFB) submitted their official bids to host the event.

Turkey is hoping to host the championship for the first time after bidding for four consecutive tournaments.

On Friday, the UEFA issued an evaluation of Turkey and Germany's Euro 2024 bids.

The report included feedback on the state of stadiums, as well as the political, social and environmental aspects, along with issues related to security, mobility, accommodation, and training facilities.

According to the UEFA evaluation report, four out of 10 candidate host cities in Germany are not members of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism.

Reinhard Grindel, the DFB’s current head, is facing racism allegations.

In July, Turkish-German footballer Mesut Ozil quit the national team, citing racial discrimination. Ozil also said that Grindel failed to support him when he received hate mails, threatening phone calls, and racist comments on social media. The DFB head later admitted that he had not been supportive enough.

German football fans continue to protest the country’s nomination to host EURO 2024.

During matches last week, German football fans held banners and raised slogans against hosting the tournament.

At Saturday’s match between Augsburg and Werder Bremen, fans chanted against Germany’s EURO 2024 nomination.

Fans of Dynamo Dresden, a Bundesliga second-league team, unfurled a banner during the match with Darmstadt, saying: “We don’t need tournaments bought with euros. We need change.”

On Friday, Stuttgart fans also raised a banner reading: “United by Money: Corrupt in the center of Europe,” mocking Germany’s EURO 2024 bid slogan, "United By Football: Together in the center of Europe".

In recent years, the DFB has been embroiled in fraud and racism allegations.

In 2015, German weekly Der Spiegel claimed that Germany paid €6.7 million (around $7.8 million) in bribes to secure the 2006 World Cup.

Wolfgang Niersbach, the then head of DFB, was forced to resign over bribery allegations, and FIFA banned him from football for a year.

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