Opinion: Euro 2024 in Germany – a logical choice | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.09.2018
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Opinion: Euro 2024 in Germany – a logical choice

After four unsuccessful bids, it was surely Turkey's turn - but the European Championships have been awarded to Germany. The correct decision, says DW's Joscha Weber, but DFB President Grindel's days are still numbered.

A German journalist, working for German media, says that Germany is the logical, deserved winner of the right to host the 2024 European Championshipquelle surprise!

Just like sport itself, sports journalism is also influenced by patriotic behavior. There's nothing wrong with a football commentator celebrating a goal scored by his country's national team, and it's no different in Germany. The Nationalmannschaft is a national and cultural institution, arguably the last remaining camp fire around which a fragmenting society can still huddle.

Nevertheless, when a German journalist states that Germany is the correct choice, it's more than just patriotic fervor and joy. There are other reasons, too.

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UEFA president announces that Germany  will host Euro 2024

A worrying trend

Firstly, Germany is a democratic country with a constitution based on the rule of law and where human rights are protected – not something to be taken for granted nowadays. World Cups in Russia and Qatar, Euro 2020 games in Azerbaijan, the Olympics in China – the awarding of major sporting events to autocratic nations is a worrying trend.

Such events serve only as propaganda for the host regime, covering up issues such as the repression of minorities, restrictions on the free press and damage to the environment. The selection of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey, where the opposition is under surveillance and where the state controls the media and the courts, would have represented a continuation of this dubious trend.

Given Turkey's four previous failed bids (plus one withdrawal), it may have been fair from a sporting point of view. But as long as Erdogan continues to ride roughshod over basic democratic principles, UEFA shouldn't be gifting him a prestigious football tournament to use as a PR gag.

Weber Joscha Kommentarbild

Germany: a logical choice in the end for DW's Joscha Weber

What really matters to UEFA: money

The second reason why Germany is a better option as host nation: economic power and stability.

Turkey offered greater tax incentives and promised to provide stadia rent free, but the country's battered economy, the collapse of the Lira and Erdogan's confrontational anti-Western politics simply posed too big an economic risk. Because what do UEFA care about most? Money.

European football's governing body made an 800-million-euro profit from the last European Championships in France in 2016 and president Aleksander Ceferin has not hidden the fact that revenue possibilities are "absolutely decisive."

The Turkish bid didn't enjoy full support at home either, which might sound strange at first but becomes more understandable once you dig a bit deeper. The national Süper Lig is still struggling to recover from the corruption scandals of recent years and fans are still skeptical of the FA and its president, Yildrim Demirören.

Back in his days in charge of Besiktas, he almost led the 15-time champions to economic ruin, and has since fired journalists who have dared to criticize the national team coach – not a difficult job, since he owns the biggest media companies and is generally seen as Erdogan's puppet. The Euros in his hands? Not a good idea.

Reinhard Grindel

Under pressure: Euro 2024 won't relieve the pressure on Reinhard Grindel

Grindel: an unconvicing victor

The German victory in Nyon by 12 votes to four (one abstention due to illness) was comfortable in the end but, amidst all the euphoria, one thing must not be forgotten: Reinhard Grindel is still on the ropes.

The DFB President looks visibly shaken by the loss of support from with the football association and is seen by many German football fans as a spineless careerist. His botched handling of the Mesut Özil affair, a premature decision to stand by Joachim Löw after Germany's calamitous World Cup and increasing irritation among amateur associations have all put him under pressure.

Had Germany not won the right to host Euro 2024, his days in office would surely have been numbered – and perhaps they still are. He's already done too much damage in his undiplomatic and ignorant attitude towards fan representatives.

The DFB's triumph in Nyon will smooth things over the time being but let's not kid ourselves: it was easy pickings for Germany.   

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