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UK and Ireland submit Euro 2028 bid with 10 venues in five countries | European Championship

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UK and Ireland submit Euro 2028 bid with 10 venues in five countries | European Championship

European Championship

  • Redevelopment work yet to begin at Belfast’s Casement Park
  • Cardiff, Glasgow, and Dublin would also see action

Two unfinished stadiums – including one that has not been used since 2013 – are part of the United Kingdom and Ireland’s final bid to co-host Euro 2028 that was submitted to Uefa on Wednesday.

Redevelopment work has yet to begin on a new 34,500-capacity stadium planned for Belfast’s Casement Park, which previously hosted hurling and Gaelic football but has lay dormant for almost a decade, with major doubts over how it will be funded. Meanwhile, Everton’s new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock – which was preferred to Liverpool’s Anfield on the original shortlist of 14 stadiums – is expected to open next year despite spiralling costs.

People walking past Casement Park in Belfast. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

They were both confirmed on the list of 10 stadiums submitted by the bid, which includes matches across venues in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Wembley, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, St James’ Park – which had been competing with Sunderland’s Stadium of Light – Villa Park and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium have been selected as the host venues in England, while the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Hampden Park in Glasgow and Dublin’s Aviva Stadium make up the list.

That means there is no place for Manchester United’s Old Trafford, which has the second-highest capacity of all football stadiums in England, after it was withdrawn from the shortlist following talks with the Football Association over concerns it would be available “due to potential redevelopment of the stadium.”

Organisers hope can they see off competition from Turkey, with Uefa’s executive committee set to make a decision on hosting for Euro 2028 and Euro 2032 in September.

“Our pioneering five-way partnership will deliver a record-breaking and unforgettable Uefa Euro,” Debbie Hewitt, chair of UK and Ireland bid, said in a statement. “We will work together tirelessly to be the best partners for Uefa and to deliver on every one of our shared priorities. We will focus on growing football, connecting with and engaging new fans, players and volunteers.

“We continue to invest £50m (€57m) annually into grassroots football development across our five associations. Together, we want Uefa Euro 2028 to be the catalyst for a new and sustainable era for football, from the grassroots to the very top of the European game.”

Support from all governments involved in the bid came in the form of a joint statement from prime minister Rishi Sunak, Scotland first minister Humza Yousaf, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

“Together, our nations will host an outstanding Uefa Euro 2028,” it read.
“It will be the biggest sporting event our islands have ever jointly staged – a passionate and unforgettable celebration, with long-term benefits for our cities and communities as well as all European football. Our governments are fully committed to hosting Uefa Euro 2028. Drawing on our collective experience of hosting major events, we will work with our five Football Associations and Uefa to deliver the best possible tournament – a welcoming, exciting and safe football festival that players, fans and the entire Uefa family will enjoy in every city and at every game.

Sunak added: “Football has a habit of creating special memories and in 2028 we want to create new memories for a new generation – across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. This would be the biggest sporting event our islands have ever jointly staged. Our bid promises not only world-class stadia, excellent transport links and the world’s best fans but also the opportunity to build a lasting grassroots legacy.”

The bid carries the slogan ‘Football for all, football for good, football for the future’, and claims 80% of ticket-holders would be able to travel to matches by public transport. It also predicts benefits of up to £2.6bn for the nations involved.

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