England Opts Out of Automatic Euro 2028 Qualification Bid


England Opts Out of Automatic Euro 2028 Qualification Bid

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England has informed UEFA of its intention to compete for a spot in Euro 2028 through the qualification process, alongside its four co-hosts. This decision raises concerns that one of the host countries may miss out on the tournament.

The UK and Ireland’s joint bid is set to receive approval in Switzerland, with no remaining competition for the finals scheduled to take place across England, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, and Dublin.

Despite the provision of two “back-stop” places for host nations failing to progress through their qualification groups, the decision to enter the qualification process has sparked fears that not all five co-hosts will secure a spot in the finals.

UEFA typically only grants two automatic places for host countries, so opting for qualification allows all five co-hosts a chance to qualify.

England believes that participating in the qualification campaign will be more beneficial for the team’s preparation for the tournament. Germany, who will host next year’s European Championship, has faced challenges, including poor results in friendlies and a lack of competitive matches. The Football Association (FA) views competitive matches as the ideal preparation for a major tournament, rather than seeking suitable opponents for friendly matches during the qualification period.

FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham will be part of the presentation to UEFA at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. The presentation is expected to be a formality after Turkey withdrew from the running to join forces with Italy for the 2032 tournament. Gareth Bale, a five-time Champions League winner, is part of the Welsh delegation.

The UK and Ireland’s hosting of the tournament is anticipated to benefit the economy significantly, with an estimated value of £2.6 million during the 51-match event. It is expected to generate record revenues, which will be a considerable boost to UEFA following financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed tournament format includes Cardiff as the opening game location, with Wembley hosting the semi-finals and final if ratified by UEFA. Matches are planned to be divided with six in Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland, five in Northern Ireland, and the remaining 28 games held in English stadiums. Several English stadiums, including the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, Villa Park, St James’ Park, and Everton’s Bramley-Moore Dock, will host matches.

Belfast’s Casement Park, with a capacity of 35,000, will not host any games beyond the last 16, but the quarter-finals will be split among the other four hosts.

Regarding the decision to enter qualification, Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson stated, “It’s a sensible approach and it keeps everyone sharp.”

In other news, Bukayo Saka has withdrawn from the England matches against Australia and Italy due to a hamstring injury that also ruled him out of the recent match against Manchester City. Saka reported to England’s St George’s Park on Monday, but his withdrawal was confirmed soon after, and no replacement has been called up by manager Gareth Southgate.




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