The UK and Ireland appear to be named as joint hosts of the European Championship in 2028, with no rival bids for this week’s deadline appear likely, the Times reported Monday. The football associations of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland dropped plans to bid for the 2030 World Cup and opted for Euro 2028 last month. The Times said no new bids were expected before the deadline of Wednesday and that the European Football Association UEFA is expected to make a formal decision on 7 April.
UEFA could expand the tournament from 24 teams at Euro 2024 in Germany to 32 teams four years later, but it is unlikely that the five host countries would automatically qualify, even in an extended tournament.
The bid for the 2030 World Cup was previously criticized as an “expensive vanity project” by Julian Knight, the legislator who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK Parliament, following England’s failed solo attempts at the 2006 World Cups and 2018 to organize .
The CEO of the English Football Association, Mark Bullingham, said last month that the five-nation euro offer would be viewed favorably as UEFA tries to rebuild its finances after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We believe we can put together an incredibly strong tournament in many ways,” he said. “And we also know that we can deliver a very strong commercial return to UEFA and we feel that puts us in a strong position.”
Wembley is a regular venue for major UEFA finals due to its capacity of 90,000 and the abundance of business facilities.
England and Scotland hosted 12 matches last year during the postponed European Championship 2020, which took place in 11 countries.
Fan violence marred the final, won by Italy, as thousands of English fans stormed Wembley in hopes of seeing the Three Lions’ first major tournament final in 55 years.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, however, softened fears that the disorder would affect England’s chances of hosting major events in the future.
UEFA announced in December that London would also host the inaugural edition of a new intercontinental final between the champions of Europe and South America, when Italy takes on Argentina on June 1.
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