Russia interested in hosting 2028 European Championship in challenge to UK and Ireland | Football News

Russia has declared an interest in rivalling the UK and Ireland for the right to host Euro 2028 despite its ban from international football.

Russian clubs and national teams are currently suspended by FIFA and UEFA over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, pending the outcome of an appeal by the Football Union of Russia to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

However, that has not stopped the union’s executive committee giving its backing for a bid for 2028 and 2032, with the deadline for expressions of interest set for Wednesday.

A post on the union’s official website outlined a number of results from Wednesday’s executive committee meeting which included to “support the decision to declare interest in hosting the European Championship 2028 or 2032 in Russia”.

Reports from Russia had earlier quoted an executive committee member, Sergey Anokhin, indicating an interest in bidding for the tournaments.

Sport Express said that along with the UK and Ireland, there was also a bid from Turkey and a joint one from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia.

Russia successfully hosted the 2018 World Cup but has been exiled from the international sports community since its invasion of Ukraine a month ago, with UEFA having already stripped St Petersburg of hosting rights for this season’s men’s Champions League final.

The five associations leading the UK and Ireland bid submitted a formal expression of interest to UEFA on Wednesday.

UEFA had no immediate response to the Russian declaration, but is expected to issue a statement when the deadline for declarations of interest passes at 5pm UK time.

UK & Ireland Euro 2028 bid: Q&A

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England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have announced a joint bid to host Euro 2028, and will drop proposals to stage the 2030 World Cup

How did we get here?

The national associations of England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales had been involved in a feasibility study looking at a possible bid for the centenary World Cup finals in 2030.

However, they jointly announced on February 7 their intention to go for Euro 2028 instead.

Why did they do that?

Mark Bullingham, the chief executive of the English FA, spoke last month about the greater “uncertainty” surrounding the FIFA process. The bidding regulations for 2030 have not yet been confirmed, while the international calendar beyond 2024 is not yet fixed. The possibility of a switch to biennial World Cups looks increasingly unlikely, but altogether the Euros were deemed the more appealing option.

Who else is in the running?

Alongside Russia, perennial bidders Turkey were also mentioned. The Times had reported earlier this week that there were no other formal bids lodged with UEFA with 24 hours to the deadline, meaning the UK and Ireland bid may have a clear run at it.

What happens next?

UEFA is due to confirm bidders on April 5 according to the bidding process information it released last October.

If the UK and Ireland bid stands alone, The Times report that the five associations would then have until the end of the year to provide the necessary government guarantees to UEFA on issues such as security, visas and tax exemptions.

Where would matches be played?

Wembley would be the obvious favorite to host the final, while any number of Premier League stadia fit the bill. The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Aviva Stadium in Dublin would also be likely to feature, while Northern Ireland is also keen to host matches. A redeveloped Casement Park could be one option, but nothing was ruled in or out by Irish Football Association chief executive Patrick Nelson last month.

In all, the five associations should comfortably be able to fulfill the stadium requirements set by UEFA – a minimum of 10 stadia in total, one holding at least 60,000 one or preferably two of 50,000, at least four with a minimum of 40,000 capacity and at least three holding a minimum of 30,000 people.

Who would qualify?

That is still to be decided. UEFA’s bidding information published last year said automatic qualification cannot be guaranteed for any more than two hosts. Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney said last week the bidding countries had agreed on a “concept” for determining qualification, but that UEFA would have the final say. It is widely expected that Euro 2028 will be the first continental finals to feature 32 instead of 24 teams.

Is this good news for UEFA?

Very much so. Following on from hosting Euro 2024 in another big market, Germany, a finals staged across the UK and Ireland promises a major revenue boost for UEFA and its member associations as they recover from the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There had been concerns that the chaos surrounding the Euro 2020 final had damaged England’s reputation as a major event host, but UEFA continues to demonstrate its faith in Wembley and will bring the ‘Finalissima’ match between Italy and Argentina to the London venue in June, while England are also the hosts for this summer’s Women’s Euros.

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