KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- A British Isles staging of the finals of the UEFA European Championship in 2028 is the likely outcome of the bidding contest after the passing of the submissions deadline set by the European football federation.

The UK and Ireland bid is the only one submission targeting only 2028. However UEFA had invited expressions of interest in both the finals for 2028 as well as 2032 and the national associations of both Russia and Turkey signed up to bid for either/or.

This appeared to defy a suggestion in the regulations aimed at prohibiting a country double-bidding as well as ignoring, as far as Russia is concerned, the suspension of the country’s clubs and national team from international competitions. UEFA will review the applicants on April 5.

The sole single-bid candidate for 2032 is Italy.

The four British home nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – plus the Republic of Ireland’s FAI had originally considered a bid for the 2030 World Cup finals but then switched horses to Euro 2028 last month as a far safer bet.

Wembley: another final in the offing

A formal decision is not expected from the UEFA executive committee until September next year. The UK & Ireland final would be staged at Wembley with UEFA confident that no repeat will be permitted of the sloppy intelligence, stewarding and policing which marred last year’s Euro 2020 climax.

The 2024 finals will be staged in Germany.

England hosted the European finals in 1996 and matches during last year’s Covid-delayed Euro 2020 were played in London and Glasgow. Dublin had been awarded matches by UEFA but withdrew at a late stage amid the FAI’s ongoing financial and political travails.

Last month Football Association ceo Mark Bullingham talked up the bid by saying: “We believe we can put together an incredibly strong tournament in many ways.

“We also know we can deliver a really strong commercial return to UEFA and we feel that puts us in a strong position.“

UEFA is likely to expand the finals from 24 to 32 teams.

The Russian bid will be seen as a piece of political mischief in the wake of the worldwide outrage provoked by President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

However the RFU will have assumed that, by next year, the situation will look very different.

RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov said: “The situation is very dynamic.

“At this particular moment there’s a negative trend, although it may change in some perspective. We have everything to host such an event. So why can’t we explore an opportunity, if there’s one?

“We should use every option to communicate and to bid for hosting the biggest competitions. If we don’t do anything, nothing will happen. We understand that our chances are lower now. Yet, if there are any, we should try. It’s never too late to step out.”

UEFA statement:

UEFA today confirmed that it has received declarations of interest to host the 2028 and 2032 editions of the UEFA EURO from four potential bidders following the deadline of 23 March.

A joint declaration of interest was submitted by the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales for UEFA EURO 2028.

Russia and Turkey declared their interest in hosting either the 2028 or 2032 edition of UEFA’s flagship national team competition, while Italy announced its intention to bid for UEFA EURO 2032.

The appointment of host(s) of UEFA EURO 2028 and UEFA EURO 2032 will be made in September 2023.

UK & Ireland statement:

** The Football Associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales have today submitted a joint ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) to host UEFA EURO 2028.
The EOI submission, an important step in UEFA’s bidding process for EURO 2028, follows a feasibility study which evaluated the hosting opportunities and local benefits of organising major international football events.
The Governments of the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have confirmed their support for the EOI submission and, given the Northern Ireland Executive is currently not meeting formally, officials there continue to observe the process closely. With this unique partnership, we are taking the appropriate next steps and our ambition is to stage a successful UEFA EURO which will be a wonderful celebration of football for fans and teams.
We believe EURO 2028 would be one of the greatest sporting events ever held in the UK & Ireland. This unprecedented partnership of five associations offers something special to European football, including the potential for an expanded tournament, and we are passionate about maximising the sustainability and legacy benefits for communities across the UK and Ireland.
Over the coming months, we will develop our proposals further, subject to the publication by UEFA of the full technical specification. This includes engaging in discussions with possible host cities and stadia to define the optimum tournament, model and conducting a full costs and benefits analysis. The UK & Ireland will offer an unrivalled tournament from a technical perspective – with modern, well-connected stadia and excellent infrastructure – that makes our partnership ideal to host EURO 2028.
Football must do everything possible to show how our sport can be a force for good – now, more than ever. We are resolute in our belief in the power of football to help bring people together.
We now look forward to receiving further tournament requirements and continuing our constructive dialogue with UEFA to advance our bid plans.

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