Italy, along with France and Turkey, have formally handed in their bid to host the 2016 UEFA European Championships at a special ceremony in Switzerland today.
Representatives from the three candidate host countries submitted their bid dossiers to UEFA's National Team Competitions Committee chairman Gilberto Madail.
UEFA President Michel Platini was absent from the ceremony to avoid any impression of favouritism towards the French bid.
UEFA Euro 2016 Italy Candidate: Media Book [+]
The 2016 edition of the European Championships will be the first final tournament comprised of 24 teams, with a total of 51 games to be played in nine venues.
Italy's bid proposes 12 host cities, three of which will be cut in May 2011, with plans to build three completely new stadiums in Cagliari, Palermo and Turin; and major renovations planned for the existing stadiums in Bari, Cesena, Florence, Milan, Naples, Parma, Rome, Udine and Verona.
Cesena and Parma were selected as candidate host cities only after both Bologna and Genoa failed to produce concrete plans for the bid.
The host cities selected represent the whole of Italy - from north to south, and the islands - and are included in the bid as they are "important historical and cultural centres with good infrastructure and services, and football tradition."
Most of the stadiums in need of major renovation work will see new roofs built, the removal (or minimisation) of the athletics tracks, reconfiguration of the stands and the elimination of barriers to guarantee perfect visibility, setting up of welcoming spaces and VIP areas with skyboxes, improvement of restrooms and food and beverage centres, places reserved for the disabled, and updated turnstile and security systems.
Investment and modernisation, environmental and financial sustainability, and legacy for the future will be at the heart of Italy's bid.
The President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Giancarlo Abete led the Italian delegation in Nyon to deliver the dossier, which is made up of over 1,000 pages divided into 19 different aspects of the bid requirements by UEFA, and carries the message: "2016 - You'll feel at home".
"On behalf of the Italian Football Federation it is both a pleasure and an honour for me to submit to UEFA the dossier for the candidature of Italy to host UEFA Euro 2016," said Abete during his speech.
"Italy is proud to present this dossier with the full support of the Italian Government, the Italian National Olympic Committee, Italian football, Municipal administrations, and the entire Country in the excellence it has to offer in terms of safety and security systems, transportation, hospitality and organisation.
"The dossier now in your hands is imbued with passion and quality: the passion of millions of fans who cannot wait for this European Championship to return to Italy 36 years after the last time it was hosted here and 26 years after Italy staged the World Cup; the quality of an honest and transparent presentation of a national system ready and willing to take the chance, well aware of its value and the challenges that awaits it.
"Our challenge is a realistic one. We are counting on a great football tradition since we have won four World Cups and more European Cups per club than any other Federation, on a skillful organisational ability and on a passion for football that is widespread in our country.
"Italy, moreover, has offered a fundamental contribution to the development of Europe and European football. As far as hospitality, infrastructures and passion are concerned, we have no rivals.
"Now we have to start up the modernisation of our stadiums."
Italy's Minister of Sport Rocco Crimi confirmed the full support of the Italian government for the bid and the commitment for rapid approval of the law on stadium ownership currently being discussed in Parliament and the guaranteed investments of about 745 million Euros.
"In Parliament the Senate has approved a law that allows for stadiums to be built with private money, meaning money of football clubs, contrary to whats happened in the past," said Crimi. "The procedure now goes to the House of Representatives, and we hope to approve the law in a short period of time.
"This is an important candidature because Italy has a football and touristic vocation together with a great ability to organise major sporting events."
French Football Federation (FFF) chief Jean-Pierre Escalettes and the head of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Mahmut Ozgener presented their respective bids to UEFA.
The governing body of European football will now analyse the bid dossiers, and technical experts will visit each of the bidding countries in April to weigh up their credentials as possible hosts.
Evaluation reports will then be prepared by the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee, with the final report released on May 14.
After final technical recommendations and presentations by the candidates, a decision on the destination of the tournament will be made by the UEFA Executive Committee in Geneva, Switzerland on May 28.
UEFA Euro 2016 - Bidding process
> 15 December 2008
Invitation to bid for Euro 2016 sent out by UEFA to its 53-member associations.
> 9 March 2009
Deadline for member associations to confirm their interest for Euro 2016.
> 3 April 2009
UEFA announced France, Italy, Turkey and Norway/Sweden as official bidders of Euro 2016. (The latter bid pulled out in December 2009).
> 15 February 2010
Bid dossier handover in Nyon, Switzerland.
> As of 19 March 2010
List of open points sent to the bidders by UEFA (for reasons of equal treatment the list will be sent out 17 days prior to each final technical workshop).
> 7 to 15 April 2010
Final technical workshops and official visits.
> 29 April 2010
Qualitative report sent to the bidders for review.
> 6 May 2010
Meeting of bidders with delegates of the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee and UEFA administration.
> 14 May 2010
Qualitative report sent to bidders, UEFA Executive Committee, UEFA National Team Competitions Committee, and released to the public.
> 26-27 May 2010
Meeting of the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee and meeting with the UEFA Executive Committee in Geneva, Switzerland.
> 28 May 2010
Final bid presentations, voting* and announcement ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.
* In accordance with the regulations, UEFA President Michel Platini (France), UEFA Executive Committee First vice-President Senes Erzik (Turkey) and UEFA Executive Committee member Giancarlo Abete (Italy) are not entitled to be involved in the deliberation process nor to vote. That leaves 13 members of the Executive Committee who are allowed to participate in the process: Geoffrey Thompson (England), Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain), Marios N. Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Dr Joseph Mifsud (Malta), Allan Hansen (Denmark), Frantisek Laurinec (Slovakia), Avraham Luzon (Israel), Dr Gilberto Madail (Portugal), Mircea Sandu (Romania), Grigoriy Surkis (Ukraine), Michael van Praag (Netherlands), Liutauras Varanavicius (Lithuania), Dr Theo Zwanziger (Germany).
Source: UEFA / FIGC