Russia’s invasion of Ukraine secures Euro 2028 hosting rights to UK and Ireland
The UK and Ireland appear certain to secure Euro 2028 hosting rights as main rivals Russia and Turkey are no longer in contention.
Giving Vladimir Putin a major football tournament is unthinkable given the Ukraine crisis, while Turkey have reportedly been discouraged by top football figures from showing up.
England, Wales, Scotland and the Irish nations are now set to clinch the tournament without contest as Italy, the only other potential favorites, now plan to bid for 2032 instead.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was the architect of 2028 plans to soften the blow to the UK and Ireland after deterring them from showing up for the 2030 World Cup.
After Boris Johnson went public with his support for a World Cup bid last year, national governing bodies hesitated for months to switch bids.
With Spain and Portugal being the preferred option in Europe for a 2030 bid, the UK and Ireland ultimately concluded that Euro 2028 was the only realistic prospect of success.
Home nations can now start planning potential venues after becoming overwhelming favorites to land the first major football tournament on the islands since 1996.
Mark Bullingham, FA chief executive, has previously welcomed the prospect of what would be the biggest UK sporting spectacle since London 2012. “We think this is a great opportunity for all five federations and governments to come together “, he added.
UEFA rules state that only two of the five host countries would qualify for automatic qualification for what is expected to be a 32-team tournament. The most likely solution would be for all host countries to lose automatic places.
The UK government backed the five football associations‘ decision to switch to the euro as World Cup hopes seemed doomed.