• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

UK and Ireland to host 2028 Euros

ByWill Duffield

Oct 17, 2023
Wembley Stadium at night

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the UK and Ireland will be joint hosts for the men’s European Championships in 2028. This is the first major sporting event that has been hosted in Britain since the 2012 London Olympics. The announcement was hailed by the Football Association’s chief executive officer, Mark Bullingham, as a “brilliant day.”

Bullingham’s decision to prioritise this bid ahead of an attempt to host the World Cup in 2030 was vindicated, and this gives the FA the opportunity to transform the image of football in the UK after the final of Euro 2020 left a rather sour taste in people’s mind.

The UK and Ireland bid for 2028 was given a relatively clear path after Italy and Turkey dropped out to concentrate on a joint bid for Euro 2032, which was also accepted on Tuesday. The UK government has said that they will inject £550 million into community facilities as part of its backing for the tournament.

Some fans will painfully remember the last time England hosted the Euros in 1996, when current England manager, Gareth Southgate, missed the deciding penalty against Germany in the semi-finals. The tournament was also the origin of the iconic ‘Three Lions’ song by comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner. Yet since its release, none of the home nations have brought back any silverware.

In terms of the bigger picture, ten stadiums have been confirmed to host matches for the Euros, with Wembley being the main stage for the business end of the competition. Other stadia in England include St. James’ Park in Newcastle, the Etihad in Manchester, along with Everton’s new ground at Bramley Moore Dock which is currently under construction. The Principality Stadium in Cardiff and Hamden Park in Glasgow will be the only venues for games in Wales and Scotland respectively.

UEFA have confirmed that for the first time fan zones will be constructed in cities that are not hosting games which means that the whole country will feel like they are playing a role in hosting the tournament. The addition of Northern Ireland is particularly significant in the eyes of Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson. Speaking to Nick Ames of The Guardian, Nolan said that “this is a fantastic day for all five [hosts] but especially for us: 25 years ago, the Good Friday agreement was signed and maybe at that time people would not have dreamed that we might be able to host something like this. Now we’re just five years away from doing it.”

With this announcement, an optimistic outlook has emerged towards the hosting of the tournament. Of course, the competition is five years away, so we cannot speculate too much. Yet the baby steps that have been taken so far seem to be putting the UK and Ireland in the right direction.

Wembley Stadium (34)” by Martin Pettitt is licensed under CC BY 2.0.