UK and Ireland Euro 2028 bid has been officially approved

Football is officially coming home again after Uefa confirmed that Euro 2028 will be hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

The UK and Ireland’s bid to host Euro 2028 has been officially confirmed by Uefa.

Turkey’s withdrawal to focus on a joint bid with Italy to host Euro 2032 left the five-nation bid unopposed to host the tournament in five years’ time.

Former Wales forward Gareth Bale made a presentation to Uefa’s executive committee alongside six youth ambassadors.

It emerged on Monday that England have requested to go through qualification for Euro 2028.

Uefa has reserved two ‘safety net’ host-nation berths should any of the five UK and Ireland bidders not qualify on merit, but the Football Association is understood to have already told Uefa that England are keen to go through qualification.

The FA is keen to keep the team competitive on the run-up to the finals, with Germany having struggled in friendly action in the build-up to Euro 2024.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (centre) poses for a photograph with England striker Harry Kane (left) and England Manager Gareth Southgate Credit: PA

There are also concerns over the level of opposition they would be able to secure if they were limited to friendlies.

If more than two of the five hosts do not make it, only the two with the best record will secure host places.

So there are no guarantees all five will be involved in the finals. Ten stadia were included in the UK-Ireland’s bid submission in April.

Six of the venues are in England, with one each from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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 are the other stadia included in the submission.

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

Former Wales forward Gareth Bale presented the five-nation bid to UEFA's executive committee alongside six youth ambassadors. Credit: PA

Senior Uefa sources have indicated the importance of another Euro 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.

Bid leaders estimate that the 2028 tournament is projected to generate around three billion euros (£2.6 billion) of economic benefit for the five host nations.

England fans along Wembley Way. Credit: PA

Tuesday’s decision means England will be involved in hosting a Euros for a third time. They hosted alone in Euro 96 and were one of 11 countries involved in staging the continent-wide Euro 2020.

The UK and Ireland associations first announced they were focusing on a bid for Euro 2028 in February last year.

On a visit to England’s training ground, St George’s Park, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I grew up with Euro 96 being one of the most amazing memories of my childhood. And we have a chance to do that all over again for lots more people, just like we did last year with the Lionesses.

“We host tournaments better than anyone else. It’s going to be a massive boost for the economy.

“We’re going to welcome millions of people to the country, and it’s going to inspire a whole new generation. So it’s great news and it was great to be here with the team and (manager) Gareth (Southgate) to celebrate.”

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