Why we’re talking about . . .

Russia’s audacious bid for the Euros

Moscow’s move to host 2028 tournament has been dismissed as ‘trolling’ and ‘complete mischief making’

Uefa bosses are holding what they described as “extraordinary meetings” to discuss how to tackle a last-minute bid by the Russian Football Union to stage Euro 2028.

European football’s governing body is under pressure to take a stand after Russia “defied” public opinion “aghast at the invasion of Ukraine” by putting in the “shock” application to rival the UK and Ireland’s hosting bid, The Telegraph reported.

Russia also joined Turkey in submitting a late declaration of interest in hosting Euro 2032 – which was expected to go to Italy – just before Wednesday's 5pm application deadline. 

Russia’s bids have baffled both politicians and sports pundits, following the country’s suspension by Fifa and removal from Uefa competitions in the wake of the Ukraine invasion. Uefa has also stripped St Petersburg of hosting rights for this May’s Champions League final.

The Russian Football Union “is not the subject of any suspension and remains an active member of both international governing bodies”, said The Guardian. But Uefa yesterday “indicated this situation could change if Russia were to proceed from a declaration of interest to submitting a formal hosting bid”, the paper reported.

The body’s Executive Committee was “on standby” to convene “further extraordinary meetings, on a regular ongoing basis where required, to reassess the legal and factual situation” and “adopt further decisions as necessary”, Uefa said in a statement. Suspending the Russian Football Union would automatically rule out Moscow’s bid.

And Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol reported that “what I've been told is the Uefa Executive Committee is ready to meet very, very quickly to make that decision”. 

Tariq Panja, global sports reporter at The New York Times, told talkSport that the Euros offer was “typical Russia”. He added: “I just think they’re doing it as complete mischief-making.”

The UK and Ireland’s joint bid for 2028 was expected to be uncontested, but Panja predicted that Russian interest would encourage other nations to apply, creating a “bit of a stink”.

Boris Johnson has already got the boot in over the Russia bid, which he described as “beyond satire”.

Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “If you ever wanted evidence that Russia and Russian sport is run by a bunch of trolling infants, just see this decision.”

Moscow was “bidding for a major sporting event while committing war crimes”, the Tory MP continued, and “the international community should tell them to simply ‘do one’”.

Knight’s fellow committee member Clive Efford MP, a former shadow sports minister, said the idea that anyone would grant Russia any sporting event was “just laughable”.

Labour’s Chris Bryant, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, accused the Russian Football Union of “living in a different universe”.

But some pundits have pointed out that Russia has been allowed to host international sporting events since its 2014 invasion of Crimea, including the 2018 World Cup.

Recommended

Europa League final: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Rangers preview and predictions
The Uefa Europa League trophy at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium in Seville
The big match

Europa League final: Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Rangers preview and predictions

‘Grim game of our times’: what is sportswashing?
Newcastle play their home games at St James’ Park
Talking point

‘Grim game of our times’: what is sportswashing?

The arguments for and against a windfall tax
A North Sea oil rig
Pros and cons

The arguments for and against a windfall tax

Jeremy Hunt: will he run for Tory leadership again?
Jeremy Hunt
Profile

Jeremy Hunt: will he run for Tory leadership again?

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner