Euro 2028 in UK and Ireland, Euro 2032 in Italy, Turkey

Football's European Championship will be hosted jointly by the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2028, but not all host nations will qualify automatically

"Two islands working together": The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland will co-host Euro 2028 (photo: DW)
"Two islands working together": The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland will co-host Euro 2028 (photo: DW)


European football's governing body UEFA announced the host countries of two upcoming European Championships on Tuesday, awarding the 2028 tournament to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and the 2032 tournament to Italy and Turkey.

Both bids ultimately ran unopposed but still needed official UEFA approval, which was conferred at a meeting in Nyon, Switzerland.

Turkey last week withdrew from the bidding process for Euro 2028 and joined Italy's bid for the 2032 edition, clearing the path for Britain and Ireland, who shelved plans to bid to host the 2030 World Cup to focus on staging the European Championship.

"The UK and Ireland thanks UEFA for its confidence... and congratulates Italy and Turkey on their appointment for Euro 2032," read a joint statement from the five football associations which make up the 2028 bid — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom, plus the Republic of Ireland.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the decision, saying: "I grew up with Euro 1996 [in England] being one of the most amazing memories of my childhood. And we have a chance to do that all over again for lots more people. We're going to welcome millions of people to the country, and it's going to inspire a whole new generation."

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on X, formerly Twitter, that he was "over the moon that Ireland and the UK will co-host Euro 2028," adding: "It will be the biggest event ever hosted by our two islands working together."

England, which hosted the women's European Championship last year as well as the semifinals and final of the pan-continental Euro 2020, last organized a full men's tournament in 1996, when the European Championship involved just 16 teams and was won by Germany.

Six of the proposed venues for the 2028 tournament are in England, including Wembley Stadium, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, St. James' Park in Newcastle, Villa Park in Birmingham and Everton's new stadium in Liverpool, which is still under construction.

Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow and Cardiff are also in line for matches, with the Welsh capital also bidding to host the opening game. "Cardiff would be perfect for the opening match," said Noel Mooney, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales.

"It's a really good partnership. We know we're going to have five games in Northern Ireland, six in Wales, Scotland and Ireland," said English FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

"It's brilliant those countries are going to get a significant portion of games, particularly if they end up with some of their own home games – it will really excite the countries."

Host nations from UK, Ireland set to enter Euro 2028 qualifying

While both tournaments will be co-hosted by two nations, the 2028 bid is unique in that it actually features five separate football associations, an historical legacy of the sport having first been codified in the United Kingdom and thus having established football associations for each nation.

Consequently, UEFA have taken the unusual step of not conferring automatic qualification for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, insisting instead that they go through qualifying – albeit with two spots reportedly reserved for the two best-performing host nations who fail to qualify.

"It's always been part of our discussions with the other countries and UEFA that we would take part in qualifying. We think with the new format of European football that's the right thing to do," said English FA chief Bullingham.

"It is better to play in a tournament where it matters and to have competitive games. It's great to be taking part in qualifying and we want to get everyone there."

The next European Championship will be played in Germany next year, from 14 June to 14 July.

Turkey finally successful after joining Italy

Like England, Italy also hosted games at the pan-continental Euro 2020, with three group stage matches and one quarter-final taking place in Rome. But the country has not hosted a full major tournament on its own since the 1990 World Cup, won by West Germany.

Turkey, which hosted last season's men's Champions League final in Istanbul, has never been awarded a major international competition, bidding unsuccessfully to stage every European Championship going back to 2008.

"We are happy to host EURO 2032 with the friendly country of Italy," said Turkish sports minister Osman Askin Bak on social media. "It is an honor to be rewarded for the steps we have taken on the 100th anniversary of our beautiful country, which we have woven together with investments into sport. The heart of football will beat in Turkey in 2032!"

The Turkish Football Federation promised to offer spectators "the ultimate European Championship experience" but the country is likely to face accusations of sportswashing, the practice of using sport to launder the image of a nation and distract from issues such as human rights abuses or democratic deficits.

Since his reelection in May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not shown any clemency towards, or announced an amnesty for, thousands of political opponents who have been imprisoned.

Erdogan's critics have been fighting a years-long crackdown on freedoms and media independence.

The offence of "insulting the president" was frequently used during Erdogan's last term to muffle dissident voices.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 38 journalists are behind bars and dozens have fled abroad.

In recent years, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has invested heavily in Istanbul side FK Basaksehir, who play in the blue and orange colors of the AKP.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines

Published: 11 Oct 2023, 10:20 AM