The Government will need to have a "clearer understanding" of the costs and benefits of jointly hosting the 2028 European Championships before it can commit to supporting the bid, Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers has said.
Mr Chambers said the Department of Sport is engaging closely with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) in order to "better evaluate" the case for bidding for hosting the tournament and "no commitments have been made at this point".
The FAI formally announced a joint bid with England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to host the 2028 European Championships earlier this month.
The initial aim of the UK and Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup was abandoned with the five FAs deciding to “focus solely” on the Euros following a feasibility study “to host the third largest sports event in the world”.
Mr Chambers was responding to Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in the Dáil on Thursday, who said with "so many deficits" within soccer in Ireland, the hosting of the tournament had to be questioned.
Mr Ó Ríordáin said there were major infrastructural deficits in Irish football, with controversy over the redevelopment of Dalymount Park and the future of Tolka Park while around only a third of all League of Ireland footballers have a Junior Certificate qualification.
“In terms of Government support for a potential bid to host the 2028 championships, while I and the department are positively disposed to such a bid, we will have to have a clearer understanding of the costs and benefits of jointly hosting the event before committing to supporting the bid,” Mr Chambers said.
“The department is engaging closely with the FAI in order to better evaluate the case for bidding for Euro 28 and no commitments have been made at this point.”
Mr Chambers said an examination of the cost benefit was “a prudent and appropriate thing to do” adding “we’ll examine the ratio to see whether any potential bid would stack up”.
Mr Chambers said there was an “infrastructure deficit” that had to be addressed as well strengthening grassroots and League of Ireland facilities.
“What I would say is, it is not a question of either or; potentially hosting a major event would bring significant economic benefit to the country,” Mr Chambers said.
“This could bring huge north-south east-west benefits and I would argue there is scope to explore both properly, so it has a meaningful impact on the broader economy, but also in our commitment to developing League of Ireland infrastructure.”
Mr Ó Ríordáin said there was “greater energy and atmosphere” around the League of Ireland currently than there had been for a number of years.