Following the decision of Turkey to delay its candidacy to 2032, the UK and Ireland are set to run unopposed to host the 2028 tournament.
All that is stopping the UK and Ireland from hosting the tournament in 2028 is the process of pitching to UEFA. However, having successfully hosted the women’s tournament in 2022, the infrastructure is proven and the stage seems set.
A UEFA statement said: “The presentations at that meeting will be an important part of the process which will take due consideration of the content of the bid submissions before reaching a decision.”
The bid features 10 stadiums, including two that are yet to be built in Everton and Belfast. Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is also on the list in a move that would mark the first time an international football tournament has been hosted in Wales.
It also comes amid a backdrop of intense debate over the involvement of Russian in European football competition, after the governing body allowed the country’s under 17s to enter the qualification process for the upcoming under 17 European Championships.
In taking the decision, UEFA stated its belief that ‘children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults’.
The move was met with staunch opposition from Ukraine and the UK, with both nations backing the sanctions taken by UEFA against Russian football following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian football’s governing body, the UAF, responded: “UAF strongly condemns the Uefa decision on the return of U-17 teams from the Russian Federation to international competitions.
“UAF confirms that we will not take part in any competitions with the participation of Russian teams, and appeal to other Uefa member associations to boycott possible matches with the participation of teams from the Russian Federation, subject to their admission.”