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The UK and Republic of Ireland have been confirmed as Euro 2028 hosts at a UEFA meeting on Tuesday 10 October 2023. Bid rivals Turkey withdrew their application six days before.
The Home Nations bid for Euro 2028 was, as a result, ultimately unopposed. Turkey are instead focusing on a joint bid with Italy for Euro 2032, an idea initially raised in July and one that has now been approved by the European football governing body, UEFA.
Turkey's long history of failure
Turkey have unsuccessfully bid to host every European Championships since the 2008 edition. Their withdrawal here indicates they believed they would once again be beaten, this time by the UK and Republic of Ireland. And their joining-up with Italy shows their desperation to finally host the tournament they reached the semi-finals of back in 2004.
When is Euro 2028?
This will be the 18th edition of the Euros and it's scheduled tot ake place from June to July 2028. We know no further detail than that.
Where is Euro 2028, who is Euro 2028 host?
It looks exceedingly likely now that the Euro 2028 host will be the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, with ten stadiums across the two countries.
Euro 2028 host stadiums
The ten host stadiums for Euro 2028 are:
- Wembley Stadium – London
- National Stadium of Wales – Cardiff (Principality Stadium)
- Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – London
- City of Manchester Stadium – Manchester (Etihad Stadium)
- Everton Stadium – Liverpool
- St James' Park – Newcastle
- Villa Park – Birmingham
- Hampden Park – Glasgow
- Dublin Arena – Dublin (Aviva Stadium)
- Casement Park – Belfast
There are several particularly notable absentees from that list: Manchester United's iconic Old Trafford stadium, Liverpool's historic Anfield ground and West Ham's former-Olympic host the London Stadium.
Two stadiums in that have not yet been built in Everton's Bramley-Moore Dock, although that is nearing completion, and Belfast's Casement Park.
Each capital city in the UK and Ireland will have a host stadium. London has two in Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Belfast has Casement Park, Glasgow's choice is Hampden Park and Dublin's the Aviva Stadum. Cardiff's fantastic Principality Stadium is Wales' only inclusion.
Casement Park Euro 2028
So, the Everton New Stadium is nearly completed, but the other ground included in the bid that's under construction is Casement Park in Belfast.
Back in March 2023, the official body representing Northern Ireland supporters insisted matches at Euro 2028 should not be played at Casement Park. The ground is actually a venue for GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), including hurling and Gaelic football.
“Should Casement Park receive the significant public funding required to allow redevelopment to progress, we believe that Northern Ireland football should receive parity of funding,” the fan ground said in a statement.
“It is our view, and indeed our preference, that football tournaments should be hosted by football stadia.
“The Irish Football Association are aware of our position in relation to this matter.”
So, a Casement Park stadium does exist. It just needs rebuilding. And sport chiefs in Northern Ireland insist that process will begin as soon as the UK and Ireland bid for Euro 2028 is confirmed and ratified by UEFA, which should happen next week.
The current Casement Park has been unused for a full decade. If building work begins this year, which it should, then the new ground could be completed by 2026.
Casement Park will have a capacity of 34,500 and is expected to cost over £150m to build.
Will any other Euro 2028 stadiums be built or renovated?
First of all, it's worth noting that of the list of ten, as well as the Everton Stadium and Casement Park, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a new-build, having opened in 2019.
The Etihad Stadium, meanwhile, is set to undergo renovations this year, its capacity thus increasing to 61,958, and the capacity of Villa Park in Birmingham is expected to rise to 52,190 in anticipation of this tournament.
Hampden Park Euro 2028 stadium renovations
Glasgow's Hampden Park is the other major story. Scotland's national stadium opened in October 1903 with a capacity well over 100,000. It reached a peak capacity after 1937 of 150,000 and the international match between Scotland and England in that year drew a European record attendance of 149,415.
By 1977, Hampden Park's size was reduced to 81,000 and the stadium has since been fully renovated. However, there has been no major work on it since 1999, with some upgrades in 2014 in preparation for hosting the Commonwealth Games.
In 2021, Hampden Park successfully hosted games in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. There were no renovations prior to that, but there will be now.
The ground's capacity is set to increase to around 65,000 seats with the stands being shifted to increase the room. There will also likely be standing sections implemented after the relevant law changes in 2022. Hampden Park is also set to feature a retractable roof translucent in colour. Like the Allianz Arena in Germany, we could see an incredible LED-clad ground that will be illuminated in the colours of the home team every matchday.
One other interesting suggested feature is a 360-degree screen. Now, this won't be in place at all times, but instead will be used when only the stadium's lower tier is full. If the upper tier is closed, for smaller events, a movable curtain could be pulled across the upper rows to create a 360-degree screen. It could be pretty special for indoor sporting events or music concerts.
So, will it happen? More news needs to come on this one, but Hampden Park will be renovated in some way prior to this tournament, and it could be the most exciting changes of all.
Old Trafford Euro 2028
England's largest club football ground will not be one of the Euro 2028 stadiums. The one Manchester venue chosen is that of Manchester United's rivals, City's Etihad Stadium, which will be known in the bid as the City of Manchester Stadium.
The City of Manchester Stadium was originally built for the Commonwealth Games, with City becoming tenants later as they left Maine Road. Several renovations have been done since, with another on the cards before Euro 2028. Old Trafford, meanwhile, has undergone no major transformation since the mid-2000s, leaving fans furious at the club's ownership.
After the decision was announced that Old Trafford would not be part of the UK and Ireland's bid for Euro 2028, United told reporters that they had “mutually agreed to withdraw from the shortlist” because they couldn't provide “the necessary certainty around the availability of Old Trafford due to potential redevelopment of the stadium.” In essence, the ground might be finally undergoing renovations around Euro 2028. Still, it's a fairly solid inditement of the lack of progress in M16.
Where will the opening game of Euro 2028 be held?
It's reported that Cardiff's Principality Stadium will be the host stadium for the opening game of Euro 2028.
Which other countries wanted to host?
Well, in the end, the UK and Ireland bid is going unopposed. However, as well as Turkey, there was plenty of interest.
In 2016, the Danish Football Association began preparing a joint-bid with their fellow Scandinavian associations, namely Finland, Norway and Sweden. There would also have been related events held in the Faroe Islands and Iceland. This bid never came to fruition.
In September 2018, Spain and Portugal announced their intention to bid together for either Euro 2028 or the 2030 World Cup. They later focused their efforts on the latter and now look set to host the major event as part of a triple-bid with Morocco, who will also host Afcon 2025.
Italy considered bidding for Euro 2028, but has instead focused on Euro 2032 to allow themselves more time to improve their facilities and infrastructure.
Another joint-bid was also considered by Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. This was announced in February 2019, but this, too, never came to true fruition.
Russia also tried to bid for both Euro 2028 and Euro 2032, but UEFA has declared their bids ineligible because of the country's illegal invasion of Ukraine.