UK and Ireland submit final bid for Euro 2028 as stadium list revealed

News Desk
Wembley stadium, in London

The United Kingdom and Ireland have submitted their final bid to co-host Euro 2028, setting out plans to stage a “record-breaking and unforgettable” tournament.

The bid includes matches across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with more tickets available than for any previous European Championship finals.

Wembley, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, St James’ Park, Villa Park and Everton’s new stadium – which is still under construction – will all host matches in England, as will Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, which has been preferred to Old Trafford.

The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Hampden Park in Glasgow, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Casement Park in Belfast – which requires building work – are the other venues being proposed in the bid.

The only competing bid has come from Turkey, who have put forward a proposal to host either Euro 2028 or Euro 2032, with the winning bid set to be announced by UEFA in September.

“Our pioneering five-way partnership will deliver a record-breaking and unforgettable UEFA Euro,” Debbie Hewitt, chair of UK and Ireland bid, said in a statement.

“We will work together tirelessly to be the best partners for UEFA and to deliver on every one of our shared priorities.

“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.”

Support from all governments involved in the bid came in the form of a joint statement from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Scotland First Minister Humza Yousaf, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

“Together, our nations will host an outstanding UEFA Euro 2028,” it read.

“It will be the biggest sporting event our islands have ever jointly staged – a passionate and unforgettable celebration, with long-term benefits for our cities and communities as well as all European football.

“Our Governments are fully committed to hosting UEFA Euro 2028. Drawing on our collective experience of hosting major events, we will work with our five Football Associations and UEFA to deliver the best possible tournament – a welcoming, exciting and safe football festival that players, fans and the entire UEFA family will enjoy in every city and at every game.

“We will be honoured to deliver a tournament that truly brings our vision to life. Together with UEFA, we will build upon the proud traditions of using the power of football to inspire, and create new opportunities for football and communities across the UK and Ireland, now and for future generations.

“Our unique and unprecedented UEFA Euro 2028 will welcome the world to iconic destinations and, above all, bring people together.”

The bid carries the slogan ‘Football for all, football for good, football for the future’, and claims 80 per cent of ticket-holders would be able to travel to matches by public transport. It also predicts benefits of up to £2.6billion for the nations involved.

Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, has been used by the Football Association on plenty of previous occasions – including during the rebuild of Wembley, as a venue during the Women’s Euro 2022 last summer and for the upcoming men’s Euro 2024 qualifier against North Macedonia in June.

However, the Etihad Stadium has been selected instead, with the official bid stating a capacity of 61,000, with Manchester City set to increase the current 53,400 seats in due course.

Casement Park has stood unused as a major sporting venue since 2013, with development work delayed over funding issues, but has still been included in the 10-stadia bid.

England last hosted the Euros in 1996, while Hampden Park also hosted matches during the multi-national Euro 2020, played in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wembley hosted the semi-final and final of Euro 2020, with England playing all but one of their matches at the national stadium en route to a penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the final.

That game was marred by trouble outside the stadium and supporter issues inside Wembley, which led to a UEFA investigation ending in a £84,560 fine and having to play two home matches behind closed doors – with the second game suspended for two years.

Those involved in the Euro 2028 campaign will be hoping the issues from July 11, 2021 will not be factored into any decision on whether their bid is successful as UEFA confirmed they face sole competition from Turkey.

“UEFA today received three bid dossiers from member national associations interested in hosting the 2028 and 2032 European Championships,” a statement read.

“United Kingdom and Ireland (represented by the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales) submitted their bid dossier for EURO 2028. The Turkish Football Federation submitted their bid dossier to host either EURO 2028 or 2032 and the Italian Football Federation submitted their bid dossier for EURO 2032.

“UEFA would like to thank all national associations for submitting their dossiers. In the forthcoming months, the UEFA administration will evaluate each of the bids, with the UEFA Executive Committee to vote on who has won the right to host both editions in October.”

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