The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and Turkey 2024 have hailed the decision to award the final of the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final to Istanbul. The city was announced as the host by the UEFA Executive Committee, who met in Kiev today ahead of Saturday's UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid C.F. and Liverpool F.C.
The choice of Istanbul is a strong demonstration by UEFA of its faith in Turkey to host exceptional, world-class events and adds to the country's already significant hosting experience, which includes the UEFA Champions League Final 2005, UEFA Cup Final 2009, 2010 World Basketball Championships, FIFA U20 World Cup 2013 and many more World Championships in various sports.
The unforgettable UEFA Champions League Final in 2005 between Liverpool F.C. and A.C. Milan at Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium will live long in the memory of all who watched the match as one of the greatest UEFA Champions League Finals ever. The dynamic, cosmopolitan city will seamlessly combine a rich heritage and iconic location with cutting edge innovation and a passion and love for the game of football, to deliver another incredible celebration of football in 2020.
Atatürk Olympic Stadium also features prominently in Turkey's bid to host UEFA EURO 2024. With confirmed plans to upgrade the iconic venue in time for 2024, it will offer a unique fan experience and is also one of 10 ultra modern stadia, located across nine Turkish cities included in tournament proposals submitted to UEFA last month as part of its Bid Dossier.
Standing at the gateway to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Istanbul and Turkey offer exciting opportunities to expand the reach of European football, bringing UEFA EURO 2024 to even more people, creating new fans and driving commercial growth way beyond Europe and opening up a new frontier for UEFA.
Thanks to Turkey's location and recent significant investments in transport infrastructure, Turkey can also boast direct flight connections to 120 countries, while more than one billion people from 53 nations are located less than four hours away.
Yıldırım Demirören, President of the TFF, said:
"We are absolutely delighted to be announced as host of the UEFA Champion's League Final in 2020 - an event that is truly one of the crown jewels in the European and global football calendars.
"To have the final bestowed upon us for a second time is a strong demonstration of the trust and faith of the European football family, and of UEFA, in Turkey and our ability to host an exceptional international final that will showcase football and our nation to the world.
"We look forward to sharing the magic of Istanbul and Ataturk Olympic Stadium with players and fans from across Europe and beyond in two years' time, when a warm welcome will be experienced by all."
Servet Yardımcı, Vice-President of the TFF and UEFA Executive Committee Member, said:
"This is not only a huge honour but it also adds to our fantastic track record of hosting world-class international events. We are committed to being the best possible partner to UEFA - our significant experience in this area will ensure we deliver events that UEFA can be truly proud of, both in 2020 and in the future.
"Looking ahead, it is our strong desire to host UEFA EURO 2024, a tournament that promises a new frontier for UEFA. As a gateway to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Turkey offers exciting opportunities to host a global EURO that will bring this exciting tournament to more people than ever before."
Cenk Tosun, Everton F.C. and Turkish national team player, said:
"Having played in Istanbul and throughout Turkey, as well as in Europe, I am in no doubt that the city and the country will host incredible events, both in 2020 with the UEFA Champions League Final and in 2024 should they be successful in their bid to host UEFA EURO 2024.
"With passionate, knowledgeable fans, cutting edge modern stadiums, a truly fascinating history and a welcoming culture, Turkey offers a unique environment to both play and watch football in."
"The emotions you feel during the ceremony and hearing the Champions League theme is totally fantastic. Having scored four goals and making two assists in the group stage last campaign, I can say that the satisfaction it brings is truly different."
Cengiz Ünder, A.S.Roma and Turkish national team player, said:
"It has always been a dream of mine to play in a major tournament in my home nation. I have no doubt Turkey will be an incredible host and that this will further stimulate the development of football in the country, inspiring future generations of players and fans."
"Scoring my first goal in my first ever UEFA Champions League match has been a huge pride for me. It will be an unforgettable moment in my life. That goal also made me the youngest Turkish player who scored in this competition. The unique atmosphere created by the fans in Champions League matches, exceptionally motives us, the players."