Britain and Ireland Secure Hosting Rights for the 2028 European Championship, While Italy and Turkey Will Stage Euro 2032.


Britain and Ireland Secure Hosting Rights for the 2028 European Championship, While Italy and Turkey Will Stage Euro 2032.

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NYON, SWITZERLAND – OCTOBER 10: The UEFA EURO trophy on display in advance of the UEFA EURO 2028 & 2032 Host Announcement at the UEFA headquarters, The House of European Football, on October 10, 2023, in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Kristian Skeie – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

The trend of reaching amicable agreements to select hosts for the Olympics and major soccer tournaments without the need for a contested vote continued in Europe on Tuesday.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) awarded hosting rights for the European Championship in 2028 and 2032 to seven of its member federations. In 2028, the four British member nations will co-host with Ireland, and an unconventional plan involving Italy and Turkey was chosen for 2032.

The final approval from the UEFA executive committee was all but assured after Italy and Turkey, who had been rivals in their bids, joined forces in July. This united approach led Turkey to withdraw from the Euro 2028 competition, where a team comprising five neighboring UEFA member federations — England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland — had long been favored to win.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin praised the seven member nations, acknowledging their dedication, hard work, and commitment.

These UEFA decisions came just six days after FIFA revealed another agreement to host the 2030 World Cup in six countries spanning three continents. This arrangement included South American neighbors Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, who joined forces with Spain and Portugal, the previous favorites to host, adding Morocco to their bid. FIFA has taken steps to expedite the process of selecting the 2030 and 2034 World Cup hosts, with both decisions expected to be finalized late next year.

The International Olympic Committee had set the trend of double awards when it decided to pick the host for the 2028 Summer Games during the 2024 bid campaign. This allowed Los Angeles to be awarded the 2028 Games without the risk of losing the 2024 bid to Paris. The IOC has since abandoned contested votes for Olympic hosts, opting for exclusive negotiations with preferred candidates. This streamlined process enabled Brisbane, Australia, to be fast-tracked as the host for the 2032 Summer Games.

In the realm of soccer, Turkey appeared unlikely to win the 2032 bid, even though there were doubts about Italy’s ability to complete a massive construction project required for a 24-team, 51-game tournament.

Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina acknowledged the enormous challenges but saw the Euro 2032 hosting as a significant motivation. The agreement with Italy also means Turkey will finally have the chance to host a European Championship, after several unsuccessful previous bids, including losing to France for Euro 2016 by a single vote.

The decision to split the 2032 tournament between Italy and Turkey was made to ease the logistical and construction burdens on each host. While UEFA bid rules stipulate that co-hosts must be neighboring member federations, Rome and Istanbul are approximately 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) apart, requiring flights across the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas that take over two hours.

The expectation that Britain and Ireland would host Euro 2028 arose when it became clear that UEFA favored Spain and Portugal to lead Europe’s bid for the 2030 World Cup.

The selection of co-hosts involving five UEFA members for 2028 and two for 2032 follows the model used for Euro 2020, which originally featured 13 member nations before being reduced to 11 due to pandemic-related delays. The final and semifinals of Euro 2020 were held at London’s 85,000-seat Wembley Stadium, which is also planned to host those games in 2028.

The UEFA selections are not the only instances of geographically diverse and logistically challenging host selections this month for major soccer events. The FIFA-backed plan for the 2030 World Cup requires teams, fans, and officials to undertake flights of about 11 hours to reach games in each of the three South American co-hosts.

All six 2030 hosts will receive automatic entry to that World Cup, and Italy and Turkey will have direct places at Euro 2032. However, UEFA will not automatically allocate five places for the 2028 hosts. One possibility is to have all five compete in traditional qualifying, with automatic berths granted to the two best records among the non-qualifiers.

The Euro 2028 bid proposal includes six stadiums in England, spearheaded by Wembley Stadium, along with the home grounds of Aston Villa, Manchester City, Newcastle, Tottenham, and Everton’s forthcoming stadium in Liverpool’s dock area. The national stadiums of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales will also feature, alongside a planned new stadium in Belfast at the currently abandoned Casement Park.

Patrick Nelson, CEO of the Northern Irish soccer federation, expressed confidence that the British government would provide the necessary funding, which is estimated to be at least £150 million ($180 million).

In contrast to the Euro 2024, scheduled to be held in Germany next year, which will be hosted by a single nation, the Euro 2028 and 2032 events aim to maximize profits for UEFA, targeting revenues of at least 2 billion euros ($2.12 billion) at each edition. UEFA is looking to replenish its cash reserves, which were significantly depleted during the pandemic, aiming to surpass 500 million euros ($528 million).

The men’s European Championship plays a crucial role in financing UEFA’s administrative and development costs for its 55 member federations. The program, known as Hat Trick, is expected to invest 935 million euros ($990 million) from 2024 to 2028, providing member federations with nearly double the funds they receive from FIFA during each World Cup cycle.

Russia, the host of the 2018 World Cup, had applied to participate in both European hosting competitions but was declared ineligible by UEFA due to the invasion of Ukraine.


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