As expected, the United Kingdom and Ireland have been awarded the contract to host the 2028 European Football Championship. The tournament four years later takes place in Italy and Turkey. The Executive Committee of the European Football Union (UEFA) decided this on Tuesday.
Due to the lack of opposing candidates, the decision in favor of the joint application by the associations of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Ireland as well as the hosts for 2032 was purely a formality; there were no losers. Italy and Turkey originally applied as individual candidates before agreeing to a joint application in July. As a result, Turkey also withdrew its further application for the 2028 European Championship.
The ten stadiums for the European Championship in five years have already been decided: In addition to London’s Wembley Stadium – the largest venue with a capacity of 90,000 spectators – there will also be games in England at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London) and the Etihad Stadium (Manchester), which is not yet completed Everton Stadium (Liverpool), St. James’ Park (Newcastle) and Villa Park (Birmingham). Wales is represented by the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Scotland by Glasgow’s Hampden Park and Ireland by Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. In Northern Ireland the game is played at Casement Park in Belfast.
England last hosted the tournament in 1996. Germany became European champions then, just as they had 16 years before, when Italy last hosted the European Championship finals. Turkey, with Istanbul as the venue for the last Champions League final, is hosting for the first time.
The Turkish association had already failed in several attempts and would have only been an outsider in an open competition with Italy. However, since the 1990 World Cup host was unlikely to have ten European Championship-ready arenas built or renovated, both associations decided to run together. To achieve this, UEFA also moved away from its actual guideline that only neighboring countries can host a European Championship together.
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With the double award, the trend continues that there are increasingly fewer applications for the expanded tournaments and hardly any candidacies from individual countries. The 2030 World Cup is expected to start with three games in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay and will then be played in Morocco, Spain and Portugal. This still has to be confirmed by the congress of the world association FIFA. The 2026 world tournament will take place in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
Due to the expansion of the European Championship to 24 participants and 51 games, there are fewer and fewer candidates in Europe who can manage the tournament on their own. Two years ago, the continental tournament took place in a total of eleven countries during the Corona crisis. The UEFA decision-making body includes, among others, Hans-Joachim Watzke and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as representatives from Germany. The next European Championship will take place in Germany next year (June 14 to July 14, 2024).
Russia also expressed interest in hosting the European Championships in 2028 and 2032 in spring 2022. However, UEFA rejected the application with reference to its application regulations in view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.