UK-Ireland EURO 2028 bid 10-stadia-list


UK and Ireland bid for EURO 2028 without Old Trafford Image: Coliseum GSVA

Two unfinished stadiums – including one that has not been used since 2013 – are part of the United Kingdom and Ireland’s final bid to co-host EURO 2028 that was submitted to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) recently.

‘The Guardian’ stated that redevelopment work is yet to begin on a new 34,500-capacity stadium planned for Belfast’s (Northern Ireland capital) 31,661-capacity Casement Park, which previously hosted hurling and Gaelic football but has been dormant for almost a decade, with major doubts over how it will be funded. Everton F.C.’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock – which was preferred to the 54,000-capacity Anfield in Liverpool, England, on the original shortlist of 14 stadiums because Liverpool’s pitch size does not meet the UEFA regulations for international tournaments – is expected to open next year despite increasing costs.

The 2028 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2028 or simply EURO 2028, will be the 18th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international football championship organized by the UEFA for the senior men’s national teams of its member-associations.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Kazakhstan, as well as some Asian countries such as Israel, Cyprus and Armenia. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

‘The Guardian’ further stated that the above two venues were confirmed on the list of 10 stadiums submitted by the bid, which includes matches at venues in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium in Wembley, England, the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, the 52,000-capacity St. James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne – which had been competing with Sunderland’s (England) 48,707-capacity Stadium of Light, the 42,657-capacity Villa Park in Birmingham, England, and Manchester City F.C.’s 53,400-capacity Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, have been selected as the host venues in England, while the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, the 51,866-capacity Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, and Dublin’s 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium make up the list.

That means there is no place for the 74,310-capacity Old Trafford, England, which has the second-highest capacity of football stadiums in England. It was withdrawn from the shortlist after talks with the Football Association over concerns it would be unavailable “due to potential redevelopment of the stadium”.

Organizers hope they can see off competition from Turkey, with UEFA’s Executive Committee due to make a decision on the hosts for EURO 2028 and EURO 2032 in September.

Added Debbie Hewitt, Chair of UK and Ireland bid, “Our pioneering five-way partnership will deliver a record-breaking and unforgettable UEFA EURO. We will work together tirelessly to be the best partners for the UEFA and to deliver on every one of our shared priorities. We will focus on growing football, connecting with and engaging new fans, players and volunteers. We continue to invest £50m (€57m) annually into grassroots football development across our five associations. Together, we want UEFA EURO 2028 to be the catalyst for a new and sustainable era for football, from the grassroots to the very top of the European game.”

Support from all Governments involved in the bid came in the form of a joint statement from the Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, and the Taoiseach (chief), Leo Varadkar.

Added Hewitt, “Together, our nations will host an outstanding UEFA EURO 2028. It will be the biggest sporting event our islands have ever jointly staged – a passionate and unforgettable celebration, with long-term benefits for our Cities and communities as well as all European football. Our Governments are fully committed to hosting UEFA EURO 2028. Drawing on our collective experience of hosting major events, we will work with our five Football Associations and the UEFA to deliver the best possible tournament – a welcoming, exciting and safe football festival that players, fans and the entire UEFA family will enjoy in every City and at every game.”

Put in Sunak, “Football has a habit of creating special memories and in 2028 we want to create new memories for a new generation -across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. Our bid promises not only world-class stadia, excellent transport links and the world’s best fans but also the opportunity to build a lasting grassroots legacy.”

The bid carries the slogan – ‘Football For All, Football For Good, Football For The Future’ and claims 80 percent of ticket-holders would be able to travel to matches by public transport. It also predicts benefits of up to £2.6bn for the nations involved.

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