Ireland to be confirmed as Euro 2028 co-hosts but still await news on automatic qualification

As Uefa decides, Fifa says 2030 World Cup co-hosts Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay are guaranteed spots

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill will be in Switzerland on Tuesday as Ireland are confirmed as Euro 2028 co-hosts. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

There will be a distinct lack of competition inside the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland on Tuesday as the hosts for the 2028 and 2032 Euros are confirmed.

Two separate bids will be presented to Uefa’s 18-person executive committee, chaired by president Aleksander Čeferin, starting with the five football associations from the UK and Ireland securing the 2028 tournament before the Italian-Turkish bid gets a clear run at 2032.

Euro 2028: What now as Ireland-UK bid to host finals set to get go-ahead?Opens in new window ]

That leaves two outstanding issues: whether the host nations must qualify for the 24-team Euros and contingency plans if Casement Park in Belfast fails to secure funding for a €127 million facelift.

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill will be joined on stage by his counterparts in the English FA, Mark Bullingham, Ian Maxwell from the Scottish FA, the Irish Football Association’s long-serving CEO Patrick Nelson and Noel Mooney from the Football Association of WAles.


Mooney, who served as interim FAI ceo in 2019, last year described the jockeying for qualification spots as a “bunfight,” before adding “it’s unlikely that we’ll get five spaces. That still has to be worked out.”

Hill, speaking last month, believes that all five nations should have to qualify for Euro 2028, in contrast to Fifa announcing last week that their six co-hosts for the 2030 World Cup – Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay – are guaranteed spots in the 48-team tournament.

Malachy Clerkin: Great that Euro 2028 is coming to Ireland, but enough already with the guff about its legacyOpens in new window ]

“My guess would be for a tournament that may be hosted by five nations, all teams will be part of the qualification process,” said Hill. “I hope, and believe, that two teams will qualify automatically.”

Hill did provide certainty around the Aviva stadium hosting six matches. A revamped Casement would host five games but considering eight of the 10 venues for Euro 2028 are already built, and Everton Stadium in Liverpool is expected to be completed midway through next year, Uefa could seek guarantees around the redevelopment of the west Belfast venue.

“We are in discussions with the Ulster GAA Council and also the British government as to how we can make a contribution to the cost of building that new stadium,” said an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Once the back slapping is complete, the focus switches to costs, which are estimated between €65 million and €93 million for Ireland alone, and the FAI promise to “deliver lasting legacies” after a major football tournament leaves Dublin.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent