Ireland manager Stephen Kenny. Tom Maher/INPHO
Silver Linings

FAI optimistic Ireland would qualify automatically as co-hosts of Euro 2028

Ireland are bidding to host the 2028 Euros with England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

LAST UPDATE | 11 Oct 2022

THE FAI ARE optimistic that Ireland would qualify automatically as co-hosts for the 2028 European Championships, should that bid prove successful. 

The UK and Ireland turned away from a potential bid to host the 2030 World Cup earlier this year and instead prioritised a bid to host the 2028 Euros across Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland. Turkey have also submitted a bid to host the tournament. 

The winning bid will be announced in September next year. 

Should the Irish/UK bid be successful, Ireland would host matches at the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park, whereas it is anticipated that Scotland and Wales will hold matches at just one stadium in Glasgow and Cardiff respectively. Northern Ireland do not have a stadium of requisite capacity to host any matches at this stage, with their hopes of doing so reliant on the redevelopment of Casement Park. 

The42 understands that it is that status as a two-stadium co-host that is stirring optimism among the FAI that Ireland would qualify automatically as a co-host, for whom two spots are expected to be reserved. Germany have qualified automatically as hosts of Euro 2024, though none of the twelve initial host countries of Euro 2020 were guaranteed a spot at the tournament. (Ireland were among the initial host countries but withdrew because of the pandemic.) 

Euro 2028 will remain as a 24-team competition, with Uefa last weekend deciding against an expansion to 32 teams. 

Meanwhile, Ireland have been handed a very difficult task to qualify for Euro 2024, having been drawn against Netherlands, France, Greece, and Gibraltar in Frankfurt over the weekend. Ireland will begin their campaign at home to France on Monday, 27 March next year. The FAI may arrange a friendly international to be played three days prior to that match, with Ireland not involved in the group’s opening match-night while being contractually obliged to play two friendly internationals next year. Ireland’s other vacant match night is the very final round of fixtures in the group on 21 November. Given the presence of the Dutch and the French in Ireland’s qualifying group, there is much less commercial need for these friendly games to be against high-calibre, glamorous opponents. 

The FAI have arranged a double-header of friendly internationals next month, with Norway coming to the Aviva Stadium on 17 November before Ireland then travel to face Malta on 20 November. The Norway game is expected to sell out. The FAI sought no contractual commitment from the Norwegian FA that Man City star Erling Haaland will play in the game, but have been verbally assured by the Norwegian FA that Haaland is keen to play in both of Norway’s friendly matches next month. Norway play Finland four days after their clash in Dublin. 

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