• Sunday, July 14, 2024

FOOTBALL

UK and Ireland to host Euro 2028

Six of the proposed venues for the 2028 tournament are in England

Welsh retired professional footballer, heading the delegation of UK and Ireland Gareth Bale (C), flanked by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (4thL), poses with fans after United Kingdom and Ireland were elected to host the Euro 2028 fooball tournament during a ceremony at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on October 10, 2023. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE UK and Ireland will co-host Euro 2028, while Italy and Turkey will be joint hosts of the 2032 tournament, UEFA announced.

Both bids ran unopposed but still needed official approval from European football’s governing body, which they received at a meeting in Switzerland.

Turkey last week withdrew from the bidding process for Euro 2028, clearing the path for Britain and Ireland, who shelved plans to bid to host the 2030 World Cup to focus on staging the European Championship.

“The UK and Ireland thanks UEFA for its confidence to award UEFA EURO 2028 to the five Association partnership, and congratulates Italy and Turkey on their appointment for UEFA EURO 2032,” read a joint statement from the five football associations.

FIFA last week announced that Morocco, Portugal and Spain will stage the 2030 World Cup but games will also be played in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay as the footballing showpiece celebrates its centenary.

Saudi Arabia subsequently revealed it plans to bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

Turkey, which has bid unsuccessfully to stage every European Championship going back to 2008, was initially a candidate for both Euro 2028 and 2032.

However, in July it agreed to join Italy in a bid for the 2032 edition, without saying at the time if it would pull out of the running for 2028.

England, which hosted the women’s Euro last year, last organised a major men’s tournament in 1996, when the European Championship involved just 16 teams.

“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,” said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he visited England’s training base on Tuesday.

“We’re going to welcome millions of people to the country, and it’s going to inspire a whole new generation.”

Between them, England and Scotland hosted 12 games during Euro 2020 that was held in various locations across the continent with both semi-finals and final taking place at Wembley.

Six of the proposed venues for the 2028 tournament are in England, with two stadiums in London and others in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham.

Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow and Cardiff are also in line for matches.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on X, formerly Twitter, that he was “over the moon that Ireland and the UK will co-host Euro 2028”.

“It will be the biggest event ever hosted by our two islands working together.”

Russia initially declared an interest in hosting either the 2028 or 2032 Euro but UEFA later said it would not consider any bid from the Russian Football Union.

That was after Russian clubs and national teams were suspended from all UEFA competitions due to the war in Ukraine.

The next Euro will be played in Germany next year, from June 14 to July 14.

(AFP)

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