KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- The European football federation, as expected from a long way out, has formally confirmed that the finals of UEFA Euro 2028 will be staged in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the biggest sports event to “come home” since the London Olympic Games in 2012.

The UEFA executive committee, meeting at its headquarters in Nyon, confirmed the award to the only bid left standing after presentation which included six local community youth ambassadors and the former Wales captain Gareth Bale. The finals of the 2032 will be cohosted in Italy and Turkey.

A statement from the UK and Ireland bid said it had “expressed a vision as ‘Football for all. Football
for good. Football for the future’.” What remains to be resolved is how many automatic slots will be available for the hosts. Cardiff will stage the opening match with the final at Wembley.

It added: “The UK and Ireland was also awarded the tournament based on the nations’ collective wealth of operational experience and world-class technical facilities – with a long track-record of staging successful major sporting events, including the ground-breaking UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

“UK & Ireland promises commercial success by delivering record-breaking crowds with high-capacity, world-famous football grounds and state-of-the-art new venues:”

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said: “I would like to congratulate the bidders and host associations, whose dedication, hard work and commitment have been duly recognised. Together, we will create unforgettable editions of this great tournament that will unite us and celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship.”

The 18th edition of the tournament will see the European Championship return to England for the third time, after solely hosting in 1996 and hosting matches during the 2021 edition, while Scotland will host matches for the second time after matches were played in Glasgow in the same edition.

Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will host European Championship final tournament matches for the first time.

Ticketing record

Some three million tickets will be available, more than any previous finals, enabled by the projected average stadia capacity of 58,000. It i expected that 2.5m fans will take part in associated festivals across the two nations and five football regions – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Republic of Ireland.

The bid, with full support from both governments, promised:

▪ A compact and connected transport plan – more than 80% of ticket holders able to travel to matches by public transport
▪ Proposed match schedule to reduce emissions
▪ Launch of a personal carbon footprint tracker for every spectator and proposing plans for carbon reduction
▪ Adherence to UEFA’s major event human rights principles to ensure an inclusive, discrimination-free and equal work environment for colleagues and volunteers.

The staging is predicted to generate benefits of up to £2.6 bn (€3bn) for the UK and Ireland.

The 10 stadia needed a minimum capacity of 30,000 and the selection includes two yet to completed in Liverpool and Belfast. They are:
London – Wembley (90,652)
Cardiff – National Stadium of Wales (73,952)
London – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (62,322)
Manchester City – (61,000)
Liverpool – Everton (52,679)
Newcastle – St. James’ Park (52,305)
Birmingham – Villa Park (52,190)
Glasgow – Hampden Park (52,032)
Dublin – Dublin Arena (51,711)
Belfast – Casement Park (34,500)

2032 proposals

As for the 2032 finals, Italy and Turkey have pre-selected a ‘long list’ of 20 stadia of which 10 will be chosen, five per country, by October 2026.

The venues indicated by the Italian Football Federation are Stadio San Siro – Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Stadio San Nicola in Bari (to be renovated), Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples (to be renovated), Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence (new stadium), Juventus Stadium in Turin, Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa (to be renovated), Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi in Verona (to be renovated), Stadio Renato Dall’Ara in Bologna (new stadium) and Stadio Sant’Elia in Cagliari (new stadium).

The venues indicated by Turkey are Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul (to be renovated), New Ankara Stadium in Ankara (new stadium), Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul, Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul, Timsah Arena in Bursa, Şenol Güneş Sports Complex in Trabzon, Konya Metropolitan Stadium in Konya, Gaziantep Kalyon Stadium in Gaziantep, Eskişehir Stadium in Eskişehir and Antalya Stadium in Antalya.