At the latter end of 2023, Ireland and the UK were confirmed as the joint hosts of Euro 2028 by Uefa. This is the first time that Ireland will host a major football tournament, whereas their partners in the UK will be holding their third. In all Ireland are to host six matches in the Aviva Stadium, with twenty eight across England, six each in Scotland and Wales and a post-furbishment Casement Park set to host five.

All five associations will share a tournament delivery bonus from Uefa as well as a sizeable material financial return. The five-nation partnership has already received a €51 million minimum funding promise from their respective governments. Issues surrounding the dilapidated Casement Park have been broached by both FAs and governments, as well as the GAA. In 2011, the full refurbishment of the stadium was quoted at £77.5 million, with Stormont pledging £62.5 million and the GAA £15 million. However, since 2011 much has changed both politically and economically which endangers the redevelopment of Casement Park. It is now estimated that between £120-130 million is a more realistic sum, however the GAA has asserted they will stand by their original sum. The Irish government has given a verbal commitment to help with the cost of refurbishment and have began discussions with both Ulster GAA and the British Government.

The English Premier League (EPL) is the world’s leading football league with a collective worth of over $30 billion, with television rights nearing $13 billion. Investment and interest in the EPL has only grown over recent years with marked enthusiasm from the Middle East, in lieu of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Football has always been called the ‘world’s game’, and often the attendance and attention paid to global tournaments proves this hypothesis. One can only hope that Euro 2028 can deliver the same levels of investment and appeal both domestically and internationally to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As recently as November, the FAI turned down a bid of €90 million for commercial control of a new ‘Premier League Ireland’ football league to re-vamp the current League of Ireland. One of the key objectives of the league was it’s all-island approach, aiming to foster a deeper relationship between the FAI and the Northern Irish IFA, in conjunction with the new owners. With the success of the joint-bid, further co-operation between all five FAs would be optimal, particularly the FAI and IFA.

Uefa has stated a vision as to the ‘legacy’ of Euro 2028 for both football and society. Notably from this statement, Uefa outlines how the tournament will help to “generate €3 billion across the ten host cities and beyond”. This would be a huge boost to the joint economies and give a platform for hosting similar tournaments and major sporting events. Uefa also notes how “a compact and connected travel plan will ensure 80 per cent of supporters can attend matches via public transport, with a match schedule designed to reduce emissions”. It is yet to be seen as to whether the respective host countries public transport systems will be able to cope with the demand of a major sporting tournament, however it is a perfect incentive for governments to upgrade current infrastructure and extend their pledge to becoming a more sustainable society.

The connection between Britain and Ireland extends across economics, politics, sporting connections, and familial bonds. These two islands share a robust affiliation that touches every facet of life. For the first time ever, British-Irish trade reached a record €100 billion and sustains over 600,000 jobs. With the success of the Euro 2028 bid, one can only hope that this will increase the previous figures by a significant proportion in the run up and in the wake of the tournament. The Chamber certainly hopes that the success of this joint-bid leads to more integration and indeed the possibility of similar endeavours in the future.