Two Irish cities set to host major sporting tournament in 2028

Two Irish cities are set to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events in 2028.

Two Irish cities set to host major sporting tournament in 2028.

Football is one of the most popular sports in Ireland, with major clubs like Celtic, Liverpool, and Manchester United each enjoying a huge Irish following that traverses the sea for matches on a weekly basis.

Moreover, the national teams that represent the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland boast some of the most fervent supporters in the game despite enduring particularly barren periods in recent years.

However, local football fans look set to have something else to shout about, with the increasing likelihood of two Irish cities hosting matches at the 2028 UEFA European Championships.

Euro 2028 – one of European football’s biggest events could be coming to Ireland

Euro 2028 is one of European football's biggest events.
Credit: Flickr/ Marco Verch Professional Photographer

Ireland and the UK officially submitted a bid to host Euro 2028 back in March 2022 but faced competition from Turkey.

Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, hosted the Champions League finals in 2005 and 2023 and the Super Cup in 2019, but Turkey has yet to host a major international tournament.

Turkey had initially submitted bids as outright hosts for the 2028 and 2032 instalments of the European Championship but announced in July its intention to merge its 2032 bid with current European champions Italy.

UEFA announced this morning (4 October) its recognition of the merger and the subsequent withdrawal of the country’s 2028 bid.

Ireland and UK – five-nation bid unopposed

The bid is now unopposed.
Credit: Flickr/ Marco Verch Professional Photographer

The withdrawal of Turkey’s 2028 bid leaves the UK and Ireland bid unopposed. Though the bid remains subject to approval by a UEFA executive committee next week (10 October), the awarding of the tournament to the UK and Ireland seems a mere formality.

The Guardian reports that senior UEFA sources are keen to host the tournament in an established football market “to help rebuild the organisation’s reserves after the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Euro 2024 will take place in Germany, and if the UK and Ireland are indeed awarded the 2028 tournament, both these hosts will certainly tick boxes for UEFA.

Where will matches take place? – two Irish cities included in the bid

Two Irish cities set to host major sporting tournament in 2028.
Credits: Flickr/ William Murphy; geograph.org.uk/ Paul McIlroy

The UK and Ireland’s bid, in some ways, mirrors Italy and Turkey’s bid.

England was outright host of Euro ’96, hosted matches including the final in 2021, and held the World Cup in 1966. It’s not difficult to see the similarities to Italy, which hosted the European Championship in 1968 and 1980 and the World Cup in 1934 and 1990.

Meanwhile, each of the non-English cities included in the bid – Dublin, Belfast, Cardiff, and Glasgow – has hosted major finals in recent years but not major international tournaments, much like Turkey and Istanbul.

Ireland’s biggest stadium – Croke Park – was not included in the bid. Instead, the Dublin stadium selected was the Aviva Stadium – home of the Irish national team and host of the 2011 Europa League final.

Meanwhile, Belfast’s host stadium won’t be Northern Ireland and Linfield’s Windsor Park, but rather Antrim GAA’s Casement Park. That said, Casement Park requires much renovation work before it can host GAA or football matches.

The other non-English stadiums included in the bid are Glasgow’s Hampden Park and Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

In England, the bid includes Everton’s yet-to-be-built stadium in Liverpool, Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, Newcastle’s St James’ Park, Villa Park in Birmingham, and both Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

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