Examining Potential UEFA Euro 2028 Hosts

UEFA Euro 2028 may seem like ages away, but the bidding process is right around the corner (if you consider the second quarter of 2022 to be ‘around the corner’). Quite a few federations have already confirmed plans to bid and they will be examined in this article. Starting with confirmed bids and then moving on to potential ones. Examining potential UEFA Euro 2028 hosts can hopefully provide an idea of the most probable candidates. 

Examining Potential UEFA Euro 2028 Hosts

Greece-Bulgaria-Serbia-Romania Bid Unlikely to Win 

This bid was confirmed in 2019 and will be the second-ever four-nation bid to host the Euros. Four Nordic countries made a bid for the 2008 edition. An international major tournament hosted by four nations is unprecedented. Even the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with its massive 48 participating teams, is “only” hosted by three nations. So, seeing a Euro be hosted by four nations seems bizarre, particularly when you take into account that UEFA has not announced plans to expand the number of participating teams from 24. 

This raises a few questions. Would Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania all qualify automatically? Because that would be quite unfair. Does UEFA have unannounced plans to expand the number of teams at Euro 2028? To how many, if so?

Their respective GDP’s being among the lowest in Europe certainly doesn’t help their case either, especially when you compare their bids to competitors.

Turkey’s Sixth Attempt in a Row

This bid was confirmed on 15 August 2019. The Turkish Football Federation has made bids for five consecutive Euros if you include their bid for the pan-European tournament in 2021, originally scheduled to be played in 2020. They lost every time, their latest being against Germany who was awarded hosting rights for Euro 2024 at their expense.  

Out of their five bids, Turkey made it to the top two twice, for Euro 2016 and 2024 respectively. France beat their bid with a narrow margin of five votes in the first round and by a single vote in the second and final round. Germany’s bid reigned supreme, obtaining 12 votes compared to Turkey’s measly four. 

Italy Held Back by Outdated Stadiums 

Giovanni Malago, president of the Italian National Olympic Committee, has said he views the prospect of hosting Euro 2028 as an important opportunity for Italy. They certainly have the pedigree, having hosted two previous Euros, in 1968 and 1980 respectively. Not to mention the 1990 World Cup.

That could arguably be to their detriment since UEFA prefer to differentiate hosts, meaning a country that has hosted a competition previously is less likely to be awarded hosting rights again. 

Another aspect that holds Italy back is their outdated stadiums. Thirty years after the 1990 World Cup, many Italian clubs are still held back by the debt from the stadium renovation programme, the cost of which exceeded the budget by 84%. The stadiums did not boast any shiny exteriors, contained few luxuries, and seats with a back were not mandatory yet. This was satisfactory in 1990, but not in 2020, and even less in 2028. 

It’s worth pointing out that measures have been taken to modernize the stadiums, but it’s uncertain if enough progress will have been made for when the host is voted in 2022.   

England Among the Favorites 

In 2015, then-FA chairman Greg Dyke said England are interested in bidding for Euro 2028. They hosted the tournament in 1996 and definitely have the money and infrastructure to do a fantastic job, boasting 29 stadiums with a capacity of over 30,000 as of July 2020.

However, like with Italy, England’s relatively recent hosting of the Euros could hold them back since UEFA prefer to differentiate hosts. But because there are 32 years between 1996 and 2028, UEFA might not consider that ‘recent enough’ to neglect England as a potential host.  

Spain an Eminent Candidate

In 2018, president of the government, Pedro Sanchez, and president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, stated that Spain wants to organize Euro 2028. Their most recent experience hosting a major tournament was the 1982 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the second group stage. 

A joint bid with Portugal is also an option, even though Spain have the stadium capacity to host the tournament by themselves. Their economy has recovered enough since the 2008-2012 Spanish financial crisis for a successful Euro 2028 bid to be realistic. 

Competition Too Tough for Nordic Bid to Succeed

A media statement by the Danish Football Federation after a meeting with the Nordic Football Associations announced plans for a potential Euro 2028 Nordic bid. This was also, unsuccessfully, attempted for Euro 2008. Should it succeed, it will be the first major tournament hosted by four nations.

This bid is problematic for the same aforementioned reasons surrounding the Greece-Bulgaria-Serbia-Romania bid, even though the Nordic countries’ economies are notably superior.


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