German FA rubberstamps decision to bid for Euro 2024

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[January 20, 2017]  BERLIN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The German football association (DFB) board voted unanimously on Friday in favour of the country's long-planned bid to host Euro 2024.

The DFB, which announced its intention to bid for the continental tournament several years ago, said it would hand in the official bid notification to UEFA by March 3.

"Euro 2024 can become an important beacon for German football," DFB President Reinhard Grindel said in a statement.

Grindel was elected last year after the resignation of Wolfgang Niersbach due to his involvement in Germany's 2006 World Cup scandal which is currently under investigation.

"We will submit a first-class bid and take special care to chose the 10 locations in a transparent and accountable way," Grindel said.

Only stadiums with a capacity of more than 30,000 people can take part in a selection process with a submission of interest by Feb. 17. A final decision on the 10 locations will be taken by the DFB in September.

The association's reputation has been severely damaged by the 2006 World Cup scandal with investigations ongoing in Germany and Switzerland into payments to world soccer's governing body FIFA from the DFB after Germany won the right to stage the event.

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A DFB-commissioned report revealed last year that while there was no evidence of Germany paying FIFA members in return for votes, payments were made to at least one former FIFA official through a web of accounts involving several firms or individuals, including Franz Beckenbauer.

World Cup-winning player and coach Beckenbauer, who headed the 2006 hosting bid, admitted making mistakes but denied any wrongdoing over the tournament.

Germany, three-times European champions, last staged the tournament in 1988. The 2020 edition will be held across the continent. A Scandinavian bid for 2024 is also likely.

UEFA will announce all 2024 bidders on March 10. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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