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Uefa confirms Ireland will co-host Euro 2028 with the United Kingdom

There have been calls for the immediate redevelopment of Casement Park in Belfast.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 10th 2023, 3:15 PM

IRELAND WILL CO-HOST the 2028 European Championships with the UK, Uefa has confirmed.

The UK/Irish team presented their bid to Uefa’s Executive Committee at their headquarters in Nyon this morning, at which the European governing body ratified the bid.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin took to a stage in Nyon to formally announce the success of the Irish/UK bid.

Games will be played in 10 different grounds across the five associations: the Aviva Stadium in Dublin; a redeveloped Casement Park in Belfast; Hampden Park in Glasgow; the Principality Stadium in Cardiff; and Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, St James’ Park, Villa Park, Etihad Stadium, and Everton’s new, as-yet-unfinished stadium by the Liverpool docks. Dublin will host six games at the tournament: four group games, a last-16 tie, and a quarter-final.

The number and means of allocating qualifying slots to co-hosts has yet to be confirmed.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said the tournament can become a catalyst for sustained government investment in facilities across the country, with Ireland guaranteed €6.2 million of a €51 million legacy fund, which will be funnelled into the development of the game here.

Uefa also confirmed that Euro 2032 will be co-hosted by Italy and Turkey.

‘Over the moon’

The news has been welcomed by several politicians including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who said he is “over the moon”.

“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 also want to ensure that there are benefits too for football clubs all over the country and I look forward to engaging with the FAI on how we can achieve that.

“Football truly is a global sport, played on every continent and is transcendent of race, social class or gender. I really think we can use this tournament to showcase Ireland to the world and bring people together,” Varadkar said in a statement.

Sports and Tourism Minister Catherine Martin added that hosting the tournament “will bring huge benefits to the country economically, particularly for our tourism industry, with over 120,000 visitors expected to travel to Ireland for the tournament”.

“The sporting benefits will be felt right across the island, inspiring a new generation to take up football and other sports.

“Uefa Euro 2028 has the potential to encourage increased participation from all sections and communities of our society and to reflect the goals of the bid to deliver football for all, football for good and football for the future,” she said.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste, also welcomed today’s announcement.

“After the disappointment of losing out late in the day on the opportunity to co-host Uefa Euro 2020, today’s news will finally allow Dublin to take its place as a host city for the biggest sporting event ever to be held here.

“It will showcase Dublin to a global TV audience of hundreds of millions, in addition to the many fans, visitors, locals and stakeholders who will make their way to the city during the tournament. The excitement will be palpable,” de Róiste said.

Casement Park

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill said hosting international matches in Northern Ireland is the “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,” O’Neill wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said discussions must begin immediately on how the construction of Casement Park in Belfast can be funded.

McNulty said there is political will to redevelop the GAA stadium, which is listed as one of the locations where games will be played.

But the site is currently derelict and plans by the GAA to redevelop it with a 34,000 capacity have been mired in controversy and hit by delays.

Screenshot 2023-10-10 15.01.15 The Casement Park site is currently derelict Niall Carson / PA Images Niall Carson / PA Images / PA Images

The project has been been delayed by a series of legal challenges and is further complicated by the lack of a functioning Executive at Stormont.

The redevelopment has also been hit by rising costs, with an original projected price tag from almost a decade ago of £77.5 million (about €89.6 million) now believed to have spiralled well above £100 million (around €115.6 million).

The GAA is part-funding the project but has yet to reach an agreement with Stormont on how to cover a multimillion-pound shortfall.

Unionists have expressed concern about further public money being committed to the project. Last week, Varadkar said the Irish Government would be prepared to foot some of the bill.

With additional reporting by Órla Ryan and Press Association

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