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Former German players Philipp Lahm and Celia Sasic with the European Championship trophy and Albart the bear, the official mascot for Euro 2024, during the kick-off event in Hamburg. Image Credit: Reuters

Geneva: Uefa confirmed on Wednesday its receipt of a request by Italy and Turkey to merge their individual bids into one to host the 2032 European Championship, leaving Britain and Ireland as the sole bidder for the 2028 tournament.

“Their (Turkey’s) bid to stage Uefa Euro 2028 is consequently withdrawn,” European football’s governing body said in a statement. “The award of both tournaments still requires the approval of the Executive Committee at its meeting in Nyon on 10 October.” Those should be a formality.

Exciting times

A joint bid to host Euro 2028 was placed by England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The bid Euro 2028 is unopposed after Turkey withdrew from the race and to focus on a joint bid with Italy for Euro 2032.

“We are looking forward to presenting our bid to Uefa on 10th October. These are exciting times, and we have a very compelling Euro 2028 proposal for Uefa,” the Football Association of Ireland said.

Uefa has accepted an Italy-Turkey bid despite its own rules stating only neighbouring member federations can propose co-hosting.

Ageing stadiums

Rome and Istanbul are separated by about 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) with flights taking more than two hours.

Italy likely had support in the Uefa ruling committee to beat Turkey in a head-to-head vote, but does not have 10 stadiums ready or in planning to host a 24-team, 51-game tournament. It needs to build and renovate an ageing inventory of stadiums yet construction projects in Italy, such as replacing the iconic San Siro stadium in Milan and Stadio Olimpico in Rome, can be bureaucratic and slow.

Turkey has stadiums and infrastructure almost entirely ready after a massive national construction project in the last two decades.

Germany to host Euro 2024

Germany will be hosting Euro 2024, the 17th edition of the European Championships from June 14 to July 14 next year.

Reigning European champions Italy hosted the Euros in 1968 and 1980 and Rome’s Stadio Olimpico was also used as a venue at Euro 2020.

In April, 10 grounds were selected for the UK and Republic of Ireland’s bid, including Glasgow’s Hampden Park, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Wembley in London.