UK and Ireland look likely to host Euro 2028 as bid set to go unopposed

Hopes are high that a joint bid between the UK and Ireland to host Euro 2028 will be successful. Credit: PA

The UK and Ireland look likely to host Euro 2028, with their joint bid for the international football tournament set to go unopposed.

Italy and Turkey were only competition for hosting the event, but they have requested that their individual bids be merged for one joint bid to host Euro 2032.

It means the joint bid by the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales could be approved without contest.

Uefa, the football body which runs the tournament, is expected to decide whether to approve the joint bid well in advance of October 10, when the executive committee will decide who will host Euro 2028 and Euro 2032.

Decisions on venues and match schedules will be made at a later stage.

Uefa said in a statement on Friday that it has "received today a request from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to merge their individual bids into one joint bid to host Uefa Euro 2032".

It added: "Uefa will now work with FIGC and TFF to ensure that the documentation to be submitted for their joint bid is compliant with the bidding requirements."

Ten stadia across the five nations in the UK and Ireland would host matches if the Euro 2028 bid is successful.

In England, Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, Everton’s new Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium, Villa Park and St James’ Park will host matches.

In Northern Ireland, matches will be played in Belfast's redeveloped Casement Park.

Games will be played in the Dublin Arena in the Republic of Ireland, Hampden Park in Scotland and the Cardiff National Stadium in Wales.

The organisation will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2021 final in Wembley, if it approves the joint bid.

Chaos ensued when England played Italy, as thousands of ticketless fans were able to storm the gates, breaking through 17 disabled entrances and fire doors.

A review into what happened on July 11, 2021, found the reckless behaviour of ticketless individuals who stormed the gates created the extremely high likelihood of fatalities.

Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin condemned the actions of some fans at the time, saying "the images of violence at Wembley Stadium at last year’s Euro final were unacceptable".

He added: “People should feel safe in and around a football stadium. They should never ever feel danger and they felt danger. With the authorities’ help, this cannot happen again. Never.”

Significant security improvements were made to ensure there would not be a repeat at future events.

Debbie Hewitt, chair of UK and Ireland bid, said all nations in the coalition will "work together tirelessly to be the best partners for UEFA and to deliver on every one of our shared priorities".

In a statement when the final plan was submitted in April, she said: “We will focus on growing football, connecting with and engaging new fans, players and volunteers.

“We continue to invest £50million (57m euros) annually into grassroots football development across our five associations.

“Together, we want UEFA Euro 2028 to be the catalyst for a new and sustainable era for football, from the grassroots to the very top of the European game.”

The bid has political support in all five nations too, with a joint statement on behalf of the nations’ leaders in April saying they would be “honoured” to deliver the tournament.

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The Italian federation said the decision to bid jointly with Turkey had been reached following a “complex and fruitful consultation process”.

In a statement, they highlighted that joint bids for previous tournaments – and for future tournaments such as the UK and Ireland’s bid for Euro 2028 – “show that sharing events of this magnitude represents, on the one hand, a route for the direct involvement of a higher number of fans and, on the other, the search for an even more efficient and sustainable design.”

FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said: “We are facing a historic turning point that aims to enhance continental football. Football wants to be an ideal bridge for sharing passions and emotions related to sport.”

The FIGC said that if the joint bid was deemed compliant, a decision on host venues would be postponed.