UK & Ireland’s Euro 2028 bid drops Old Trafford

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Old Trafford has not been included among the 10 venues proposed in the UK & Ireland’s final bid to host UEFA Euro 2028.

Organisers have submitted a plan featuring venues in nine cities across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These include Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, Casement Park in Belfast, and Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

The English cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham will also host games. Organisers have selected Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Everton’s under-construction new stadium in Liverpool as the venues in those two cities.

Old Trafford, West Ham’s London Stadium, Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and Dublin’s Croke Park have been omitted from the 14-venue long-list that was unveiled last November. Liverpool’s Anfield was not included as its pitch dimensions do not meet UEFA requirements.

The UK & Ireland and Turkey are the only two contenders to host Euro 2028, with a decision scheduled to be made in October 2023. At the same time, UEFA will choose between Turkey and Italy to host Euro 2032.

“The bid is a detailed plan that shows how our nations are collaborating to stage an historic football festival for all of Europe and take the tournament to new heights,” UK & Ireland organisers said in a statement.

“High-capacity, world-famous football grounds and state-of-the-art new venues will provide the platform for the biggest and most commercially successful UEFA EURO ever – making us a low risk, high reward host.”

According to the UK & Ireland bid, almost three million tournament tickets will be available, which is more than any previous European Championships. The average stadia capacity of 58,000 means more fans than ever before will attend matches.

Wembley’s capacity of 90,652 makes it the largest stadium included, while Belfast’s Casement Park, the home ground of the Antrim football and hurling teams, holds just 34,500.

Bid chiefs added that a compact and connected transport plan means more than 80% of ticket holders able to travel to matches by public transport, while the proposed match schedule will be created to reduce emissions.

Turkey has been unsuccessful on its previous five bids to host the Euro finals – 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020 and 2024. It has applied to host both the 2028 and 2032 tournaments, with Italy its only rival for the latter.

In November 2022, Italy presented the preliminary bid dossier with the 11 cities that should be involved in the organisation – Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin, Palermo, Genoa, Bologna, Florence, Bari, Cagliari and Verona.