In a significant development for the United Kingdom and Ireland, UEFA has formally confirmed the joint bid of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland as the host nations for Euro 2028, the 18th edition of the UEFA European Championship.
This accomplishment was largely uncontested, as Turkey had withdrawn from the selection process to focus on a joint bid with Italy for Euro 2032, an announcement also made by UEFA on the same day. Euro 2028 marks a substantial return to the international football stage for these co-hosting nations, with the tournament set to be the largest of its kind ever held on the British Isles.
Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium is likely to host the opening match, while Wembley Stadium is scheduled for the semi-finals and final. Fan zones are to be established in cities not hosting matches, allowing areas like Bristol, Brighton, and Edinburgh to participate, although details about some venues, including Everton’s Bramley Moore Dock, and Belfast’s Casement Park, remain uncertain.
While the announcement was met with enthusiasm by some, including those emphasizing the positive impact on grassroots facilities and the legacy of the tournament, it was seen as a testament to the cooperative efforts of the host nations in securing the rights to Euro 2028.
Some of the reactions that followed the news include:
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: ” We host tournaments better than anyone else. It’s going to be a massive boost for the economy. We’re going to welcome millions of people to the country, and it’s going to inspire a whole new generation.”
UK Sports Minister Stuart Andrew: “I’m delighted the UK and Ireland will be hosting EURO 2028. We have the experience, the stadiums and most importantly some of the most passionate football fans in the world. We have a fantastic track record of staging the world’s biggest sporting events and EURO 2028 will be no exception in what will be an incredible festival of football”.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford: “Football is at the heart of our sporting ambitions. We’re also providing unprecedented support for the women’s game and investing in grassroots and youth football across Wales. Today’s news is the next exciting opportunity for us to showcase what Wales has to offer. We have a strong track record of working in partnership with key partners, including Cardiff Council and the stadium, to host the events, which fans from all over Wales can enjoy”
Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill: “This is an incredible opportunity of a lifetime. The hosting of this prestigious tournament will grow our economy, create jobs, and showcase everything that makes our island and people amazing. Football fans of Europe, we will see you in 2028!”
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer “It will be the biggest sporting event ever jointly hosted in the UK and Ireland. We will put on a brilliant tournament with fans at its heart. We will warmly welcome fans from across Europe to our islands’ shores and give people memories that will last a lifetime.”
England FA CEO Mark Bullingham: “We’re looking forward to putting on a fantastic tournament. It’s a brilliant day for the country. It is critical that the whole country feels they are involved and we have that excitement throughout every part of the country”.
Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood: “This bid is a game changer for football on our islands. We have worked hard with our fellow home nations, and the Republic of Ireland, to reach this point and this spirit of collaboration will continue as this exciting project continues to develop.”
Scottish FA CEO Ian Maxwell: “There’s consistency across the bid, with us, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland getting one stadium. From a national association point of view, the real benefit is the engagement and interest it will drive across the game and what we can achieve in terms of participation. But it’s not about getting hung up on numbers today, it’s about looking forward to the excitement of seeing the best players in Europe coming to Scotland.”
Welsh FA CEO Noel Mooney: “The association’s job is to grow the game, to promote the game, to get more boys and girls involved, that’s our job. To have a major championship come to our country for the first time is pure gold.”
Lord Mayor of Belfast Ryan Murphy: “I know we will deliver a fantastic visitor experience, creating lifelong memories, and I am excited at what the future holds for our wonderful city.”
Ulster GAA CEO Brian McAvoy: “Casement Park hosting top-level international soccer matches as part of Uefa Euro 2028 will be a compelling symbol of the power that sport has to unite people from every generation and background. As has happened with other GAA venues on the island in staging games from other codes, we will play our full part in helping to deliver a truly groundbreaking and inclusive tournament for the benefit of everyone.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “It will be the biggest event ever hosted by our two islands working together. We’re willing to invest in the Aviva Stadium and Casement Park to ensure that the stadia, north and south, are ready to welcome the world. I really think we can use this tournament to showcase Ireland to the world and bring people together.”