INSTEAD of a coronation, there is now a competition.
What was intended as a one-horse race to host Euro 2028 and resulted in a unanimous bid for a joint effort by Britain and Ireland now has two more contenders, as before the 5pm deadlineRussia and Turkey had both expressed their interest to UEFA.
Her entry into the race complicates things a bit and hosting Euro 2028 is not the formality now promised after leaks originally suggested the UK and Irish bid was the only show in town.
But there was no panic among the football associations of “those islands” at the sudden competition.
There is still a lengthy bidding process to go through until September 2023, when UEFA will decide who will host the finals, but the outcome is already in.
Barring a natural disaster of epic proportions, the UK and Ireland bid will earn the right to host Euro 2028 and be awarded again to a single host for 2032, with Italy taking the prize.
Anything other than this result is not expected.
Turkey’s re-entry into the race after it was strongly hinted that, frustrated by repeated failures to reach a grand final, the Turks would retire comes as a surprise.
Their fixture schedule was confusing as a brief statement on the Turkish Football Association’s website simply said: “The Turkish Football Federation has submitted an official candidacy application to UEFA for the final tournament of the 2028 European Football Championship in Turkey.”
It made no mention of a secondary bid to host Euro 2032 if 2028 didn’t come their way, as it was up to UEFA to later confirm that the Turks were also bidding for both events.
Turkey’s main advantage is the fact they would be hosting for the first time, with some in UEFA having concerns about giving part of the games for Euro 2028 just seven years after London and Glasgow played at the Covid-delayed Euro 2020 had aligned.
In a fair world, UEFA would decide it was London’s turn, now it’s Istanbul’s turn.
But Britain and Ireland’s bid has so much more to offer UEFA than they expect from finals and the chaos at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final is being brushed aside. UEFA takes the stance of a weak-willed parent hoping the wrongdoing will just go away.
Turkey will opt for Euro 2032 as a back-up if they miss 2028 as is believed, but an Italian bid would blow everything Turkey has to offer out of the water.
The presence of Russia on the candidate list is as bizarre as it is insulting.
Russia as a nation is a pariah due to the invasion of Ukraine, but Russian football is also associated with the national team being eliminated from the World Cup and being banned from participating in a scheduled play-off semi-final against Poland.
That should take place tomorrow in Moscow.
Instead, Poland were given a bye to the play-off final and the date will be used for a friendly between Scotland and Poland to raise funds for those in need in Ukraine.
Russian football has an indelible link to the Kremlin and the idea of Russia even being considered as a venue for a tournament that could potentially see 32 teams asked to travel to a country that is at war with a neighbor and also a UEFA -Member led and FIFA is absurd and insulting.
The Football Union of Russia made a political mark with its bid to host the finals, knowing full well that it had no chance of winning a vote but was keen to make a mark.
UEFA will host a workshop for the competing bids next month: currently, Russian Football Union officials could not even attend due to a ban on air travel from Russia, while sanctions would prevent them from entering the room if they managed to get to UEFA reach Swiss headquarters.
Russia will be a pariah in sporting terms for years to come and after St Petersburg lost the Champions League hosting rights it will be a long time before UEFA is willing to offer them a propaganda platform like a grand final.
So the Russia/Turkey bids are a complication for the UK and Ireland bids, but it will be more of a mild annoyance than a real problem.
The five associations now have a clear timeline of what to expect and next steps: first this workshop on April 22nd, a preliminary application dossier to be submitted by October, the final application dossier to be submitted by April 2023 to be broadcast by UEFA and the UEFA decision September 2023.
The UK/Ireland bid is not without problems of its own, but competition from Russia and Turkey is not one of them.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/international-soccer/the-ukireland-euro-2028-bid-has-its-own-issues-but-competition-from-russia-and-turkey-not-among-them-41480919.html Aidan Fitzmaurice: Britain and Ireland’s Euro 2028 bid has its own problems, but competition from Russia and Turkey is not one of them