UK and Ireland bid for Euro 2028 set to be unopposed

News Desk
Wembley stadium, in London

The UK and Ireland’s bid to host Euro 2028 is set to be unopposed, according to reports.

The Times reports that no other bidders have come forward so far to declare an interest, with the deadline set by tournament organisers UEFA for 5pm UK time on Wednesday.

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UEFA said – when the tournament regulations were released last October – that the bidders would be announced on April 5.

If no other countries come forward and the five-nation bid is declared successful, it will be swift vindication of the decision confirmed last month to go for the Euros instead of launching a bid for the 2030 World Cup.

Speaking last month, Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “When you look at it for the Euros, we’ve got a very clear bidding landscape and bidding timeline and, when we assess everything for that, we know we can put together a highly-competitive bid.

“I think with the World Cup, there are many areas of uncertainty, in terms of the timeline, in terms of the frequency of the events and so on.”

It is widely expected that the 2028 tournament will be the first to feature 32 teams rather than the current 24.

If UEFA does declare the UK and Ireland bid successful, the issue of which countries, if any, qualify automatically will have to be resolved.

UEFA said last October, when it announced the bidding process for 2028: “In order to ensure compatibility with the competition’s sporting and commercial format, the automatic qualification of the host team(s) shall be guaranteed only for a single host or a maximum of two joint host associations, as always implemented in the past.

“In case of more than two joint host associations, the automatic qualification of all the host teams cannot be guaranteed and shall be subject to a decision to be made in conjunction with decisions concerning the qualifying competition.”

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney told the PA news agency last week: “I think we’ll get a sense very quickly after (the March 23 deadline) if we’re the only bidder or if someone else has chosen to bid.

“We’ve enjoyed a really good relationship with the other four national associations during the skeleton bid – if you want to call it that. We feel it’s a brilliant bid and a brilliant Euros that would come to Wales.

“We feel we have put forward a very good bid and we’re very excited about bringing the Euros to Cardiff.”

On qualification, Mooney said: “We’ve got a concept and that’s all it is, because we’re not the competition organisers. There will have to be qualification because they are not going to give five countries automatic qualification.

“It’s only a concept at the moment but you could have positions for one or two countries that don’t qualify from the host areas. We’re trying to put something together that would be palatable to UEFA but also in the best interests of the host countries.

“The way it’s sounds, it’s going from 24 teams to 32 and I hope we can qualify emphatically from that number with all the talent coming through in Wales.”