By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber
NYON, Switzerland(RockedBuzz via Reuters) -The United Kingdom and Ireland will host the 2028 European Championship, while Italy and Turkey will host the 2032 edition of the tournament, UEFA announced on Tuesday.
By accepting the joint Italy-Turkey bid for Euro 2032 last week, and with Turkey’s withdrawal from the race for Euro 2028, the hosts of both tournaments were already almost certain.
Turkey’s withdrawal from the 2028 tender left England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as the only joint bidders for that tournament.
Both sets of bids, however, still need final approval from UEFA’s executive committee which met on Tuesday.
“Nothing is ever a formality until the last minute,” said Debbie Hewitt, president of the English Football Association (FA). “We took nothing for granted.”
Hewitt said efforts to organize the tournament brought the five football associations together.
“There are so many things that you would think would divide, but they actually really unified,” he said. “I think it will be something we will all be very proud of.”
Euro 2028 will be the largest sporting event jointly organized by the UK and Ireland. It will be played at 10 stadiums, including Wembley in London, the National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Hewitt said it was not yet clear how the matches would be split between the five hosts. Wembley, with a capacity of 90,000, is expected to host the final and possibly the semi-finals. The venue hosted the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, which saw Italy beat England on penalties.
Due to the five different host places, UEFA will reserve two “safety net” places for host teams who do not qualify on merit.
If more than two host nations fail to qualify, only the two with the best record will get a place. This would mean that some of the host nations will not participate in the tournament.
Former Wales international Gareth Bale, who retired in January, said the tournament would boost football in Wales.
“I think it’s important especially for Wales to stay on the map, to keep moving forward, to keep trying and improve ourselves,” he said.
The English FA said around three million tickets will be available for the tournament, more than for any previous European championship. The matches will be held in stadiums with an average capacity of 58,000 spectators.
England also hosted the European Championships in 1996.
For the 2032 tournament, Italy and Turkey have submitted 20 stadiums in their bid, but the list will be reduced to five per country by October 2026, UEFA said.
Italy, the reigning European champion but which has failed to qualify for the last two World Cups, will host the European Championship matches for the fourth time. They organized tournaments in 1968 and 1980 and hosted Euro 2020 matches in Rome.
Turkey – which has not played at the World Cup since 2002 and was eliminated in the group stages of the last two European Championships despite reaching the semi-finals in 2008 – will host European Championship matches for the first time.
European qualifiers for Euro 2024 are currently underway, which Germany will host in 10 stadiums.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Cécile Mantovani; Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar)