By Ciarán O’ Flaithearta
Ireland and the UK are set to host the Euro 2028 football tournament.
Following a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK were awarded the rights to host the Euro 2028 soccer Tournament.
With the collaboration between football associations, government partners, cities, stadiums, and other stakeholders across Ireland and the UK, this will be the largest sporting event to have ever been jointly staged.
Significance for Ireland and the FAI:
This will be the first time that a major international football tournament will be held in Ireland.
It will also be the largest single international sporting event held in Ireland.
The news is a huge boost for the FAI, with the 51,700 capacity, Aviva Stadium set to host a minimum of 6 games, this would mean Ireland would host, 4 group stage games, a round of 16 game, and a quarterfinal.
Minister Catherine Martin said, “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 redevelopment of Casement Park has been approved in Belfast. The estimated cost of the stadium is in the region of between £110m and £160m. The proposed new arena and will provide a capacity of over 34,000 spectators.
The GAA have insisted that they will only be able to contribute £15m to this project. The Taoiseach took to social media platform “X” to pledge the support of the government to the redevelopment;
“We’re willing to invest in the Aviva Stadium & Casement Park to ensure our stadia, north & south, are ready to welcome the world”.
“I also want to ensure there are benefits for football clubs all over the country”.
“I look forward to engaging with the FAI on how we can achieve that”.
However, the Irish soccer team still have work to do. This is in order to ensure their qualification for the tournament as hosts.
Due to UEFA rules, only two automatic host nation qualification spots are up for grabs. This means that there is still some uncertainty between the five co-hosting nations.