The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland will be announced as hosts of the 2028 European Championship at a UEFA meeting in Switzerland today.
The five-nation combined bid is running unopposed after Turkey withdrew from the process last week.
Turkey has instead joined forces with reigning European champions Italy to co-host the 2032 edition of the tournament.
Matches at Euro 2028 are set to be held at 10 stadiums — including Wembley in London, Hampden Park in Glasgow, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
England manager Gareth Southgate has said it is a “brilliant opportunity” for the co-hosts, but the pressure will be on the five nations to deliver a successful tournament — particularly after the chaotic scenes at Wembley two years ago before the Euros final between Italy and England.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the UEFA ExCo meeting today.
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It is an international tournament held by European football’s governing body, UEFA, every four years. The men’s version is the second-most watched football tournament in the world, after the men’s World Cup.
When is Euro 2028?
Exact dates have not been confirmed but the Euros typically runs from the middle of June to the middle of July in the year concerned.
How did the UK and Ireland win the right to host it?
Several countries expressed interest in staging the 2028 tournament.
In 2016, the Danish Football Association announced its intention to submit a joint offer for the tournament with its counterparts in Sweden, Norway and Finland. But that plan never reached the stage of a formal bid. A mooted joint campaign involving Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia was also quietly dropped.
In 2018, the FAs of Portugal and Spain announced their intention to co-host either Euro 2028 or the World Cup two years later. And, last week, The Athletic revealed that those two countries will host the 2030 World Cup along with Morocco in north Africa, plus three South American nations.
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Last year, Russia also announced a desire to stage Euro 2028. UEFA, however, declared its bids for the 2028 and 2032 tournaments ineligible, due to the country’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
Former British prime minister Boris Johnson also suggested Ukraine should host the tournament. But the country remains under invasion by Russia.
Turkey had bid to host both Euro 2028 and 2032. But in late July they decided to merge their challenge with Italy’s application to stage the latter finals. That left the UK and Ireland as the sole would-be hosts of Euro 2028.
Even when Turkey was still in the running, the five-nation UK and Ireland bid was the overwhelming favourite to be selected.
What stadiums will be used?
Ten stadiums have been slated to host matches. They are (listed in order of capacity):
- London — Wembley Stadium (90,652)
- Cardiff — Principality Stadium (73,952)
- London — Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (62,322)
- Manchester — Etihad Stadium (61,000)
- Liverpool — Everton Stadium (52,679)
- Newcastle — St James’ Park (52,305)
- Birmingham — Villa Park (52,190)
- Glasgow — Hampden Park (52,032)
- Dublin — Aviva Stadium (51,711)
- Belfast — Casement Park (34,500)
There are serious question marks hanging over two of the potential venues, however. The Casement Park site is currently derelict and plans by the Gaelic Athletic Association to redevelop it have met with controversy and delays, and Everton’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is still under construction.
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Has the UK and Ireland hosted the tournament before?
England hosted the Euros alone in 1996, when only 16 nations qualified. Terry Venables’ side reached the semi-final stage, where they lost on penalties to eventual winners Germany.
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England and Scotland then staged matches during the most recent Euros in 2021 (it had been postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic), which was the first time the tournament was played in multiple nations, to mark its 60th anniversary.
England reached the final at Wembley, scoring first but losing on penalties to Italy after a 1-1 draw. The game was however overshadowed by crowd trouble outside the ground. A damning report into the violence concluded 2,000 ticketless fans stormed the stadium, creating a situation where people could have been killed.
Wembley is expected to host the final in 2028, as well as both semi-final ties.
How will qualifying work?
This has not yet been confirmed, although we know 24 countries will contest the finals.
The Athletic reported on Monday that England want to take part in qualification for Euro 2028 even though they are set to be announced as the main host nation by UEFA.
The host nations of major international tournaments such as the UEFA European Championship or FIFA World Cup are traditionally handed automatic qualifying spots by the governing bodies.
But UEFA will award only two automatic qualification spots for the 2028 tournament, which will be co-hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
UEFA therefore wants all five hosts to play in the qualifying groups with the two automatic spots held as “backstops” for any host nation that fails to make it.
If more than two of the five hosts do not qualify for the tournament, only the two with the best record will secure host places. So there are no guarantees all five will be involved in the finals.
And when will that start?
Qualifying for the tournament is expected to start after the next World Cup, to be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico in June and July 2026.
What has been said?
The national associations of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland last week published a statement that said: “These are exciting times and we have a very compelling Euro 2028 proposal for UEFA.
“Our bid will be groundbreaking for the men’s Euros and will deliver lasting legacies across the whole of the UK and Ireland.”
What about Euro 2024?
Euro 2024 will be held in Germany. It is scheduled to start on June 14 and finish a month later, on July 14.
Qualifying for the tournament is well underway. England and Scotland are currently top of their respective qualification tables and close to booking their places in the finals. Wales and the Republic of Ireland are fourth in theirs, and Northern Ireland are fifth.
(Top photo: Getty Images)