1. The format and location of the UEFA European Football Championship 2028

Held every four years, the UEFA European Football Championship, or EUROs, is the second most watched international football tournament after the FIFA World Cup.[1]

The UEFA European Football Championship in 2028 (EURO 28) is due to be hosted by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland. The tournament is scheduled to take place in June and July 2028, with matches hosted across 10 stadiums: one each in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and six in England.[2] The planned venues are:

  • London: Wembley Stadium
  • Cardiff: National Stadium of Wales
  • London: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
  • Manchester: City of Manchester Stadium
  • Liverpool: Everton Stadium (planned new stadium)
  • Newcastle: St James’ Park
  • Birmingham: Villa Park (to be renovated)
  • Glasgow: Hampden Park
  • Dublin: Dublin Arena
  • Belfast: Casement Park (to be renovated)

EURO 28 will be the fifth time that the championship has been staged in multiple nations, following tournaments in Belgium and the Netherlands (2000), Austria and Switzerland (2008), Poland and Ukraine (2012) and most recently, EURO 2020, which took place across 11 different nations in the summer of 2021. The men’s tournament was last fully hosted in the UK (in England) in 1996, with England and Scotland also hosting matches during EURO 2020.

2. Costs, economic benefits and legacy plans

EURO 2028 will be the biggest sporting event the UK and Ireland has ever jointly hosted. According to a letter from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) permanent secretary, Susannah Storey, to the chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier (Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch), in March 2024, the UK government expects the tournament to deliver cumulative socio-economic benefits of up to £2.4bn to cities and communities across the UK.[3] The government argues that the tournament will deliver jobs and volunteering opportunities, as well as inbound tourism and business opportunities. It also says the tournament will be “a beacon to show that the UK is open to visitors from around the world”. A £45mn legacy fund is also being created to help deliver a “lasting legacy for communities across the UK and Ireland”.

The permanent secretary’s letter said the government was confident that “the cost benefit analysis conducted for the full business case demonstrated that EURO 2028 could be hosted in the UK and Ireland in a manner in which the public sector investment can be justified by the benefits”. The letter did not include an estimated cost of delivering the tournament.

The DCMS analysis noted that the tournament was largely reliant on existing stadium, transport and accommodation infrastructure. The government also stated that successful delivery of the tournament will depend on a range of public and private partners across the UK and Ireland, and that DCMS will closely monitor delivery and risks.

Speaking in November 2023, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Stuart Andrew said:

The government are delighted that the UK and Ireland have secured the right to host Euro 2028. This will be the biggest joint event our islands have ever hosted, building on our world-leading track record of delivering major sporting events and leaving a lasting legacy for communities right across the United Kingdom.[4]

3. Redevelopment of Casement Park

The permanent secretary’s letter noted that the hosting of matches at Casement Park in Belfast was dependent on the progress and funding of the stadium’s build, a separate project led by the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland. That project has been the subject of recent scrutiny.

The Casement Park site, primarily a stadium for hurling and Gaelic football, is currently derelict. In a recent letter from the Northern Ireland secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, to the Northern Ireland communities minister, Gordon Lyons, which was leaked to news outlets, the government reportedly put the estimate of developing the site at £308mn.[5] This represents a significant rise from the initial cost estimate provided for the redevelopment of £77.5mn; however, that estimate is 10 years old.[6]

The BBC has suggested that a funding package is not in place to pay for that redevelopment, particularly as costs have risen to meet the standards required for the EUROs.[7] Currently, the Stormont executive has pledged £62.5mn, the Irish government has promised £42.8mn, while the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has said it will pay £15mn. This amounts to less than half of the new estimate. A statement issued by a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Office said “the UK government will need to receive confirmation of the updated cost of the Casement Park project from the Department for Communities before detailed consideration can be given to allocating taxpayers’ money, particularly given wider public sector funding challenges”.

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities said:

Engagement is ongoing with all funding partners in relation to the redevelopment of Casement Park. This a complex project which has evolved over time. Changes in configuration will now mean it will be a venue for both Gaelic games and for the third largest sporting event in the world. A prudent approach is being taken in relation to the estimation of costs, however, it must be remembered that the final costs will only be reached at the conclusion of a competitive tender process.[8]

It was subsequently reported that the new stadium may have a smaller initial capacity than originally planned.[9] The stadium will now reportedly host 30,000 spectators when it first opens, rather than 34,500 as originally forecast. However, the BBC reports that the plan is to increase the capacity after EURO 2028.

4. Read more

This briefing was initially prepared ahead of the following question for short debate in the House of Lords that was scheduled to take place on 6 June 2024:

Baroness Hoey (non-affiliated) to ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of preparations for the 2028 UEFA European Football Championship.

This debate will now not take place as a result of the dissolution of Parliament.

Cover image by Benjamin Lehman on Unsplash.