Banished from world sport after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia nevertheless threw itself on Wednesday March 23 in the race to organize the Euro football championship in 2028 or 2032, alongside Turkey, the UK/Ireland alliance and Italy.
“The designation of the host country” of the two competitions “will take place in September 2023”, specifies UEFA in a press release, while the four candidates, who were to make their interest known before Wednesday, will have to confirm it by April 5. .
Russia and Turkey intend to host any of the two editions of the continental tournament, adds the European body, while the United Kingdom and Ireland are targeting Euro-2028 and Italy Euro-2032.
The interest of the Russians, hosts of the 2018 World Cup, to win the organization of their first Euro has been known for a long time, but their candidacy seemed anything but acquired given their exclusion from most international competitions after the invasion of Ukraine.
While UEFA and Fifa suspended Russian teams from their tournaments on February 28 “until further notice”, the Russian Football Federation (FUR) was not itself suspended, AFP told AFP. a spokesperson for the European organization.
The executive of the body nevertheless intends to “reassess the legal and factual situation” during its next meetings, in particular on April 7 and May 10, “including in the light of the declaration of interest expressed by the FUR”, has added this source.
UEFA regulations precisely reserve the allocation of its competitions to member federations “which are not suspended or excluded”, opening a track if the body wants to quickly cut short the Russian offer.
The candidacies of Turkey and Russia shake up the British-Irish file, precociously announced by the English press on Monday as the only candidate, and which recently postponed its ambitions on Euro-2028 after having given up aiming for the World Cup-2030.
If the five federations concerned (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland) end up getting the tournament, it will be the fifth joint organization of the Euro, a trend started in 2000 by Belgium and the Netherlands.
UEFA, on the other hand, has repeatedly hinted that the complex experience of the summer of 2021, with Euro-2020 scattered between eleven cities across the continent, from London to Baku, was not about to happen again.
Italy, winner of the last edition and which hosted the competition twice (1968, 1980), made its side a favorite for Euro-2032, while Euro-2024 was awarded in 2018 to Germany, preferred to Turkey.
In addition to the thorny case of Russia, the race for the attribution of these competitions comes into conflict with two delicate issues for world football: the overhaul of the international calendar and the ambition displayed in terms of human rights.
By launching the designation of the host countries of its future Euros, UEFA assumes that the summer of 2028 will not be occupied by the World Cup, while Fifa plans to move its World Cup to a biennial rhythm at this due date.
The same threat also hovers over the summer of 2032, even if the world body seems to be temporizing on the redesign of the international calendar beyond 2024, which tenses up many football players. In addition, UEFA has not yet revealed anything about the possible conditionality of the hosting of competitions with respect for human rights, while it is eagerly awaited on the subject.
Last December, the NGOs, supporters’ associations and trade unions grouped together in the organization “Sport and Rights Alliance” denounced the “significant step backwards” by UEFA in this area, when it had imposed on Germany precise conditions for Euro-2024.