LABOUR AM, KEN SKATES, has called on politicians in Wales, Scotland and Ireland to support a future Celtic bid for the European Football Championships.
Speaking at the 44th British and Irish Parliamentary Association meeting in Dublin, the Labour AM said the benefits to the Welsh economy of part-hosting a tournament could be highly significant. During the event, attended by the Irish Taoiseach, the Clwyd South AM said the Welsh Government should join together with the Scottish Executive and Irish Governments to examine the possibility of a renewed bid.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said: “The Welsh Government is committed in its Programme for Government to working with national, UK and international sports federations to ensure that more major sporting events are hosted in Wales in the future.
“The possibility of a joint Celtic bid for the European Football Championships has been discussed many times in the past and Uefa has made encouraging comments about the possibility of a joint Welsh bid with either Scotland or Ireland.
“I am calling for a united political effort to examine the possibility of such a bid and the feasibility of hosting a successful tournament. The European Championships will soon become a 24 team tournament so a joint bid is the only option for countries of our size.
“The economic times are difficult right now, but the option of exploring a bid in collaboration with other Celtic football associations in possibly 2024 or 2028 should be part of our long-term focus. The benefits to our healthy living agenda in Wales, the boost to tourism and the impact it could have on our wider economy could be highly significant.
“The Welsh Government need to look carefully at the possibility of future support and the infrastructure improvements that would be needed for a successful bid.
“From the discussions I have had with Scottish and Irish colleagues there is a lot of interest and support out there to see what can be achieved.”
In answer to a question from Ken Skates during the Plenary session, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar TD said the Irish Government was supportive of examining the possibility of a bid and that he would approach the Irish FA for talks. -Ends-