'Cautious optimism' surrounding Ireland and UK hosting Euro 2028

'Cautious Optimism' Surrounding Ireland And Uk Hosting Euro 2028
Turkey have withdrawn from the bidding process to host the 2028 European Championship, which means Ireland and the UK are now unopposed. 
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James Cox

Updated at 13:48

Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne has expressed cautious optimism that Ireland and the UK will co-host Euro 2028.


“I don't take that for granted at this point. But this is going well with a very, very good bid.

"I think that the key thing actually for me, apart from the football excitement and all of that, is that it's the 30th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2028.

"The idea that we're working together with Northern Ireland, with Wales, England, Scotland, I think it's hugely significant, and I think that it's much needed now in the post-Brexit environment and the difficulty we've had among these islands in recent years. I think it's really, really positive and sport can bring us together.”

Mr Byrne told RTÉ radio’s News at One that the State will be providing “major funds”, but that there will have to be a very detailed cost benefit analysis to make sure that the state is getting value for money.


The figures were not being released yet because of the competitive bidding process and commercial sensitivity.

“We have no problem releasing them in due course after that, after the process ends.”

When asked about the possibility of Casement Park in Northern Ireland being a venue, Mr Byrne said he had received a commitment from the British Government, from the Secretary of State that the ongoing work at Casement Park would be completed in time.

“I think that's a really good news story as well, that there's going to be a GAA stadium that is going to be used for football in Northern Ireland. That's a good sign about what is happening, I hope, in Northern Ireland, and it has the backing of the British government. But obviously there's a lot of work to do, but I'm confident that they will do it.”


When asked about concerns attendance at games if the Republic of Ireland does not qualify, the Minister said that this would be a major event and that it would attract “big numbers” from around Europe.


“This is huge. And I think that we need to understand just how big it is and let's hope and support our football team and to get that on automatic qualification. But they have a lot of work to do between now and then in terms of other tournaments.”

Mr Byrne said that the Government wanted to make sure that football was in the best possible place and to do that the FAI would continue to be monitored through a memorandum of understanding.

It comes as Turkey withdrew from the bidding process to host the 2028 European Championship, which means Ireland and the UK are now unopposed.


The Ireland/UK bid will be ratified by Uefa next Tuesday in Nyon, Switzerland.

In a statement, Uefa confirmed the news.

"Further to the announcement on July 28th which revealed the desire of the Italian and Turkish FAs to submit a joint bid to stage Uefa Euro 2032, the Uefa administration has to day written to both associations to confirm that their joint bid has been duly received and will go forward for assessment and consideration by the Uefa Executive Committee.

"As indicated by the FA of Türkiye with its submission of the request for a joint bid, their bid to stage Uefa Euro 2028 is consequently withdrawn.


"The award of both tournaments still requires the approval of the executive committee at its meeting in Nyon on October 10th.

The presentations at that meeting will be an important part of the process which will take due consideration of the content of the bid submissions before reaching a decision."

The Aviva Stadium and Casement Park in Belfast, which is currently being redeveloped, are among 10 host venues for the Ireland and UK bid.

The other eight are: Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium (new Everton stadium), Villa Park and St James' Park in England, Hampden Park in Scotland and the Cardiff National Stadium in Wales.

The FAI said: "We are looking forward to presenting our bid to Uefa on 10 October. These are exciting times, and we have a very compelling Euro 2028 proposal for Uefa. Our bid will be ground-breaking for the men's Euro and will deliver lasting legacies across the whole of Ireland and the UK.

"We will share full details of the bid in Nyon next week and are confident that Uefa will approve our candidacy to host Euro 2028."

It is unlikely that the five nations involved in the bid - Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland - would be granted automatic qualification.

Uefa has previously said it would be unlikely that any more than two host nations are given automatic qualification.

However, a scenario where the two highest ranked non-qualifiers are given places after the Euro 2028 qualification campaign.

Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke 

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