Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny insists co-hosting the finals of Euro 2028 need not conflict with efforts to improve the country’s footballing infrastructure.
Monday’s report suggested that a joint bid by Britain and Ireland would be unopposed, giving the latter a second opportunity to host games at a major tournament after it was canceled during the delayed Euro 2020 finals due to Covid-19 restrictions was ultimately not possible.
The news comes amid a debate over Irish football’s infrastructure and finances, with skeptics questioning the implications of a successful bid for funding.
However, Kenny, who is preparing his team for Saturday’s friendly against Belgium, said: “It’s a valid point that is valid. I won’t argue against that.
“I don’t know how much money it would be about, it’s not something I’ve focused on in detail.
“I think the Irish football public would enjoy that experience, they would love to be a part of it, but it’s years away.
“Do I want all resources to be focused on this and away from all other aspects of football in Ireland? No of course not. That’s not the question.
We’re way behind in this country, we know that, but I don’t think that’s necessarily at odds with the direction of Euro 28.Stephen Kenny, Republic of Ireland manager
“Can they co-exist, can we continue to grow football at all levels in the country and in the league and still have Euro 2028 as a separate entity and something to look forward to in a few years’ time? Possibly. That’s how I see it.
“I know there are programs for clubs to try and improve infrastructure because we are way behind the rest of Europe in terms of stadium facilities.
“We’re a long way behind in this country, we know that, but I don’t think that’s necessarily at odds with the direction of Euro 28.”
Meanwhile, Kenny will focus on Saturday’s game and the friendly against Lithuania, which follows three days later, with the doubles game being his only opportunity to prepare for June’s Nations League campaign, which is being disrupted by events in Ukraine faltered by Ireland’s opponents.
Belgium will come to Dublin ranked by FIFA as world No.
However, with Blackburn defender Darragh Lenihan added to a casualty list that already included Adam Idah, Andrew Omobamidele, Enda Stevens and Callum O’Dowda after a scan of the groin problem he reported having revealed a tear, Kenny knows the Belgians will still field an impressive team.
He said: “All their players are from top teams in the European leagues. [Romelu] Lukaku is not fit so they have a choice, [Michy] Batshuayi, [Divock] original or [Christian] Benteke as the first number nine – and only one of them will play.
“You got that right across the team. [Dedryck] Boyata would come in at the back, but he’s not a young player, he’s 31, and Jason Denayer… those players are going to come in and they’ve played in big tournaments before.
“They have an impressive team, world number one and impressive strength at depth and we are aware of that.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/stephen-kenny-insists-euro-2028-can-co-exist-with-irish-rebuilding-programme-41475258.html Stephen Kenny insists Euro 2028 can coexist with Ireland’s recovery programme