Euro 2028: UK and Ireland bid to host tournament set for approval by UEFA | Football News | Sky Sports

Euro 2028: UK and Ireland bid to host tournament set for approval by UEFA | Football News | Sky Sports

The UK and Ireland’s bid to host Euro 2028 is poised to get the formal seal of
approval today.

The UEFA executive committee is set to give the green light to the five-nation bid, which is unopposed after Turkey withdrew last week to focus on its joint bid with Italy for Euro 2032.

The tournament will be held in June and July of 2028 – exactly seven years since England and Scotland both hosted games during the re-arranged tournament, which was held across Europe.

UK & Ireland host stadiums:

  • Wembley Stadium (London)
  • Principality Stadium (Cardiff)
  • Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London)
  • Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
  • Everton Stadium (Liverpool)
  • St James’ Park (Newcastle)
  • Villa Park (Birmingham)
  • Hampden Park (Glasgow)
  • Aviva Stadium (Dublin)
  • Casement Park (Belfast)

Normally, all nations hosting a tournament would be handed spots at the finals – but as in Euro 2020, because so many countries are involved, it is thought all five will have to qualify. This would be welcomed by The FA, who want England to remain competitive by going through the qualifying process.

Ten stadia were included in the UK-Ireland’s bid, which was submitted in April. Six are in England, with one each from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Credit - PA/Getty

Image:
Ten stadia were included in the UK-Ireland’s bid submission in April

The six in England are Wembley, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, St James’ Park, Villa Park and Everton’s new home at Bramley-Moore Dock.

A redeveloped Casement Park in Belfast, the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff comprise the remaining four.

Noel Mooney, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and a former UEFA executive, said: « It’s very collegiate. We’ve put forward what we all want. It’s the bid that’s going forward… For us, we want to have group matches and a couple of matches after that.

« I think we’d be looking for four, five, or six matches. We’d be really happy and I think some of the other associations would be happy as well. »

Even with Turkey in the running, the five-nation bid was the overwhelming favourite to be selected.

Senior UEFA sources have indicated the importance of hosting another European Championships in a major football market, following on from next year’s tournament in Germany, as European football’s governing body seeks to further replenish its reserves after the financial shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The five nations released a joint statement last week following Turkey’s withdrawal, stating they had a « compelling » and « ground-breaking » proposal for UEFA to consider, which would deliver « lasting legacies » across the whole of Ireland and the UK.

Would all five nations automatically qualify?

No. Sky Sports News has been told UEFA is sticking to its rules which say no more than two host nations can be granted automatic qualifying spots for the tournament finals.

However, some high-ranking UEFA officials have concerns over a suggestion that England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland might still be allowed to play in Euro 2028 even if they have been knocked out in qualifying.

Since it would be impossible for the four home nations and Ireland to agree on which of them should be given special treatment, all five will enter the competition in the qualifying rounds.

The FA would like England to go through qualification, with the thought that it would keep the Three Lions’ preparations competitive as opposed to playing friendlies.

Read more here.

Euro 2020 memories loom large for ExCo

There are nevertheless some major issues that need to be addressed if the UK-Ireland bid is accepted by the ExCo.

For a start, the Casement Park site is derelict and plans by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to redevelop it with a 34,000 capacity have been mired in controversy and hit by delays.

The Casement project has been delayed by a series of legal challenges and is further complicated by the lack of a functioning Executive at Stormont, the Northern Irish parliament.

The redevelopment has also been hit by rising costs, with an original projected price tag from almost a decade ago of £77.5m now believed to have spiralled well above £100m.

The GAA is part-funding the project but has yet to reach an agreement with Stormont on how to cover a multi-million-pound shortfall.

Wembley Stadium

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Wembley Stadium is a candidate to host the Euro 2028 final

Would Wembley host the final?

Wembley would be expected to host the final in 2028, another major test for the 90,000-capacity venue after the chaos surrounding its hosting of the Euro 2020 final.

Football Association chair Debbie Hewitt said in June: « One of the things I am absolutely convinced UEFA’s Exco will ask us is, ‘How can you assure us nobody will storm the turnstiles?’

« We have to convince every one of those Exco members we have not only thought about it, but that we have planned for it – that we know what we would do in what order and who is accountable. »

An independent report commissioned by the FA found that significant disorder took place outside Wembley on July 11

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An independent report commissioned by the FA found that significant disorder took place outside Wembley before the Euro 2020 final

England manager Gareth Southgate said it was a « brilliant opportunity » for the nations involved and added: « They will have huge pride in hosting and if the teams get qualified as well then there’s obviously some home advantage to hosting as well. »

Even though several of the submitted stadia will hold in excess of 60,000 fans come 2028, Mooney believes Wembley should be the focal point for the conclusion of Euro 2028.

« The UK is at the forefront of security and intelligence. The final of Euro 2020 was a difficult day on the security front for so many – it was a shock because they’re so good at managing these events, » he said.

« I would take this as a one-off in this part of the world and knowing what has been done with the report – which was generated and has been actioned – all those things are going in the right direction. You can never do enough on security and I do know we will have a fantastic security proposal.

« You look at a tournament to get as many people to the games. It’s about getting access to this really glorious special tournament, that’s the principle we work on and based on that, Wembley is 90,000 people.

« Why would you deny tens of thousands of people going to a Euros final because of politics? I think we should try and get as many people as possible to the games. »

‘Are UEFA fit for purpose to host major tournaments and finals?’

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

« The UEFA executive committee has had assurances from The FA that there won’t be a repeat of the disgraceful scenes that we saw at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final.

« Anyone who was there that day will remember what a shocking experience it was. There was very little security, so many people seemed to gain access to the stadium without tickets. An official report found that it was basically a miracle that nobody lost their lives.

« The FA say they have learnt lessons and nothing like that is going to happen again. UEFA have confidence in The FA because they’ve given them the Champions League final at Wembley at the end of this season.

Liverpool fans stuck outside the ground as the kick off is delayed during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Stade de France

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Liverpool fans were stuck outside the ground ahead of the Champions League final at the Stade de France

« It’s not just The FA who have questions to answer because everyone saw what happened at the last two Champions League finals in Paris and Istanbul.

« I was at both and a lot of the supporters, especially from Liverpool and Manchester City, said they have absolutely no faith in UEFA any longer and would not want to go to any major games organised by them.

« There are not just questions for the FA to answer but also serious questions for UEFA and their executive committee to answer about whether they are fit for purpose when it comes to hosting major tournaments and finals. »

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