Russia’s bid to host Euro 2028 could be dismissed under the existing tournament bidding regulations if it is deemed to have brought European football into disrepute.
The country made an astonishing declaration of interest in staging the tournament – or the following finals in 2032 – on Wednesday despite its national teams and clubs being banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s move means that, for now at least, it is a rival to a UK and Ireland bid to stage the finals in 2028.
🏟️ UEFA has received declarations of interest to host the 2028 and 2032 editions of the UEFA EURO from four potential bidders following today's deadline.
🗓️ The appointment of hosts for both tournaments will be made in September 2023.
— UEFA (@UEFA) March 23, 2022
The Football Union of Russia has not been suspended by UEFA as things stand, which meant it was able to submit the interest in bidding. Senior UEFA figures have expressed their hope to the PA news agency that the bid is quickly dismissed, and there may be a way to reject it within the organisation’s bidding regulations for finals and finals tournaments.
Article 16, governing ethics, states: “Each bidder shall ensure that it does not act in a manner that could bring UEFA, the UEFA final or UEFA final phase, any other bidder (or any employee, officer or representative of any of the foregoing), the bidding procedure or European football into disrepute.”
UEFA said on Wednesday that its executive committee “remains on standby to convene further extraordinary meetings…to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary”. The committee’s next scheduled meeting is on April 7.
If the committee voted to suspend the FUR on that or any other date, the Russian bid would also fall foul of Article 11 of the regulations, which only permits bids from associations that have not been suspended, excluded or dissolved.
The bid has already drawn scorn from British prime minister Boris Johnson, who described it as being “beyond satire”.
Johnson’s spokesman had to reiterate that the prime minister was “entirely committed” to backing the UK and Ireland bid on Thursday after he had appeared to support the idea of giving the tournament to Ukraine.
“Clearly we remain entirely committed to the UK and Ireland bid for Euro 2028 which retains the Government’s full backing,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.
The spokesman added that the prime minister would “very much” like UEFA to rule out Russia hosting the tournament.
“All sorts of sporting bodies have taken responsible action in removing Russia from their competitions,” the spokesman said.
The UK & Ireland bid for the UEFA Euro 2028 has this government’s full backing.
Our world-class stadiums and passionate fans stand ready to host one of the world’s greatest sporting events.
Let’s bring football home. https://t.co/QWTL3muayA
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 23, 2022
“They should not be able to compete or have the prestige of taking part in global tournaments.
“This is not because we want to punish the Russian people, it is simply because it is another way of putting pressure on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to reverse his course and change tack.”
Johnson had initially said: “I think the idea of Russia holding any football tournament or any kind of cultural event right now is beyond satire.
“I can’t believe anybody would seriously consider their suggestion and the best thing possible would be for the entire Russian armed forces to retire forthwith from Ukraine and hand the tournament to them, of course.”
It had appeared that the UK and Ireland bid would face no opposition before Russia’s shock entry, and a subsequent submission from perennial bidders Turkey ahead of Wednesday evening’s UEFA deadline.