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Ireland and UK formally submit joint Euro 2028 bid to Uefa as Russia declare interest

Uefa is expected to make a formal decision on 7 April.

The Aviva Stadium is likely to be one of the venues used.
The Aviva Stadium is likely to be one of the venues used.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Updated Mar 23rd 2022, 2:19 PM

THE FAI HAVE expressed their delight after their joint bid with the UK to host Euro 2028 was formally submitted today to Uefa.

The “Expression of Interest” comes on deadline day, with The Times in London reporting earlier this week that the Ireland and UK bid was set to be unopposed.

However, the Turkish FA has today made an official candidacy application and Russia have also declared an interest in rivalling the Ireland and UK bid, despite their current ban from international football.

Russian clubs and national teams are currently suspended by Fifa and Uefa over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, pending the outcome of an appeal by the Football Union of Russia to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But that has not stopped the union’s executive committee giving its backing for a bid for 2028 and 2032.

A post on the union’s official website outlined a number of results from Wednesday’s executive committee meeting which included to “support the decision to declare interest in hosting the European Championship 2028 or 2032 in Russia”.

Russia successfully hosted the 2018 World Cup but has been exiled from the international sports community since its invasion of Ukraine a month ago, with Uefa having already stripped St Petersburg of hosting rights for this season’s men’s Champions League final.

The UK and Ireland abandoned plans to bid for the 2030 World Cup last month in favour of going for Euro 2028.

Uefa, which could expand the tournament to 32 teams, is expected to make a formal decision on 7 April.

Welcoming this morning’s news, FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: “We are delighted to confirm that the Expression of Interest from the FAI and our fellow Associations in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales has now been submitted to UEFA. We look forward to working with Government, key stakeholders and Irish football to deliver a successful bid for Ireland.”

FAI Chief Executive Jonathan Hill added: “The confirmation of our joint Expression of Interest to host Euro 2028 alongside our colleagues at the FAs of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales makes this, I believe, a significant day for Irish football. As we look forward to celebrating our Centenary at Saturday’s Aviva Stadium friendly with Belgium, this represents a real statement of intent for the development of Irish football as a whole.

“We will now work with UEFA, Government and all our stakeholder partners to present a bid that makes real sense for Ireland and for Irish football. The sporting and economic benefits that hosting such a tournament present would, we believe, be of major significance across all levels of our game and for many years to come. I look forward to briefing our Board and our football community on the next steps of this process in the coming weeks and months.

“If successful, I would see this as a catalyst for real growth in the game up to the Tournament and beyond, generating new monies that can help further investment across all aspects of Irish football, be it in facilities or coaching, and helping us to realise the stated ambition in our FAI Strategy 2022-2025 to grow the game at all levels.”

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A joint statement from FAI and the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales read: “We believe Euro 2028 would be one of the greatest sporting events ever held in the UK and 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.”

- Additional reporting by AFP

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