Russia, Turkey make moves for Euro 2028

The UK and Ireland’s pathway to co-hosting UEFA Euro 2028 has been complicated with both Russia and Turkey today (Wednesday) announcing that they will bid for the national team football tournament.

UEFA confirmed it had received declarations of interest to host the 2028 and 2032 editions of the European Championship from four potential bidders. The announcement from European football’s governing body came following today’s deadline for submissions. As expected, a joint declaration of interest was submitted by the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales for Euro 2028.

Russia and Turkey declared their interest in hosting either the 2028 or 2032 edition of UEFAs flagship national team competition, while Italy, also as expected, announced its intention to bid for Euro 2032.

The Russian Football Union (RFU), following an Executive Committee meeting, today said it would “support the decision to declare interest” in the 2028 and 2032 tournaments.

“The RFU plans on submitting bids to host the UEFA Euro Cup Championships in 2028 and 2032 and this is not a joke,” said RFU Executive Committee member Rustem Saimanov, according to state news agency Tass.

“Life goes on, we are ready and open, we must not be closed for UEFA and FIFA. We have already hosted numerous high-level tournaments. We will be bidding and I presume that there is an ample amount of time, the situation will change and we will consider all details thoroughly.

“I cannot say that it may happen in 2028, but highly likely in 2032. We have already asked (UEFA) to provide us with relevant documents to study all requirements and will be waiting for them now.”

The RFU’s decision comes after FIFA and UEFA, the global and European governing bodies of football, last month banned all Russian teams from participating in their competitions following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a joint statement, FIFA and UEFA announced that all Russian national teams and clubs will be suspended from their respective competitions “until further notice”. However, the RFU was not suspended by UEFA and its president, Alexander Dyukov, still sits on the UEFA Executive Committee.

Russia has been joined in announcing its intentions for Euro 2028 by Turkey. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said today: “The Turkish Football Federation has made an official candidacy application to UEFA for the 2028 European Football Championship finals to be held in Turkey.”

The bid process for Euro 2028 was launched in October, when UEFA set a deadline of March 23, 2022 for countries to officially signal their intentions to bid. The deadline for the submission of final bids had been set at April 12, 2023, with UEFA having planned to award the rights to both Euro 2028 and Euro 2032 the following September.

Today’s news comes after it was reported yesterday that the UK and Ireland would face no other bids for Euro 2028. The UK and Ireland announced their intention to focus on a joint proposal to host Euro 2028 in February, ending plans to stage the 2030 FIFA World Cup. The announcement followed an extensive feasibility study, which included an analysis of the economic impact, the political football landscape and likely costs of hosting major international tournaments.

In a joint statement, the associations of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland claimed that hosting Euro 2028 would offer a similar return on investment to the 2030 World Cup, with the former carrying “far lower” delivery costs. It is also felt that the potential benefits of hosting Euro 2028 would be realised sooner.

Earlier today, the five associations confirmed they had submitted a joint ‘Expression of Interest’ to host Euro 2028. They said in a joint statement: “With this unique partnership, we are taking the appropriate next steps and our ambition is to stage a successful UEFA Euro which will be a wonderful celebration of football for fans and teams.

“We believe Euro 2028 would be one of the greatest sporting events ever held in the UK & Ireland. This unprecedented partnership of five associations offers something special to European football, including the potential for an expanded tournament, and we are passionate about maximising the sustainability and legacy benefits for communities across the UK and Ireland.”

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) last month confirmed its intention to bid to host the 2032 edition of the European Championship instead of the 2028 event to allow more time to build new stadiums and renovate existing venues.

Italy hosted the tournament in 1968 and 1980, while Rome’s Stadio Olimpico also staged four matches during last year’s event, which took place in 11 cities across Europe.

Germany landed hosting rights to Euro 2024 in September 2018, with the tournament to be held in 10 stadia across the country. UEFA chose Germany over a rival bid from Turkey. Germany gained 12 of the UEFA Executive Committee votes to Turkey’s four, with one abstention.

Image: Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size