The governing body of European football is thought to be in favour of a joint-hosting effort from Ireland and the UK for the 2028 European Championships, ending England’s World Cup hosting hopes
As a result, UEFA – European football’s governing body, will aim to encourage the UK and Ireland to channel their efforts into a bid to host Euro 2028.
UEFA are thought to be willing to give the green-light to any Euro 2028 bid providing the home nations and Ireland stand down from their efforts for the 2030 World Cup.
According to the Irish Examiner, sources have claimed the joint bid from Spain and Portugal is Europe’s most realistic chance of being awarded the World Cup in nine years time – while the UK’s bid with Ireland has already lost momentum.
Those at the top of the UEFA hierarchy are also thought to be incredibly cautious of displaying any signs of disunity with FIFA at this current point in time, as it prepares to battle the global body over its proposals to host a World Cup every two years.
The opportunity to host the 2028 European Championship is one that would be welcomed by Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
However, it is currently not known what England’s views are on the proposal, given the nation’s status as the lead nation in the World Cup bidding process and driving force behind the plans to host the tournament for the first time in 64 years.
It is predicted that the idea of co-hosting the Euros would fall flat among those at the top of the FA, due to the viewpoint it lacks the same prestige as a World Cup tournament.
The World Cup bid had already received the backing of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
UEFA hope that by confirming their stance on favouring the Spain-Portugal bid early, it will prevent a lengthy and expensive process from Ireland and the home nations which will waste a staggering amount of money.
In terms of timing, it remains unclear as to when UEFA will confirm their plans with both Spain-Portugal and Ireland-Britain.
Ireland will be keen to play some kind of part in hosting whether it be Euro 2028 or World Cup 2030 after their recent disappointment with Euro 2020.
The Irish became the only country to pull out as a co-host of 12 nations due to Covid restrictions.
UEFA/AFP via Getty Images)
Ireland’s Department of Sport has reportedly heard in recent days that ‘the UK and Ireland bid was effectively over before it began’ due to the popularity of the Spain-Portugal bid.
“It’s accepted that this isn’t going to happen and the sooner that message is delivered, the better,” said an insider.
“I’m not sure it was ever that realistic once Spain and Portugal had declared their intent to host the tournament, and for many reasons not least geography and easy access between the two countries, this one makes more sense.”
All footballing associations of the home nations and Ireland have not given up hope just yet – as any decisions on hosting proposals must be ratified by UEFA’s Executive Committee and its 55 member federations.