SPINELESS world football bosses have been left shame-faced after Russia was disgracefully allowed to bid for Euro 2028.
In a move that left disbelieving FA chiefs stunned into silence, Russia announced a deadline-busting bid to host either the 2028 or 2032 tournament.Russia are shockingly looking to stage Euro 2028[/caption]
That move also prompted Turkey to bid, hoping to take advantage of the Russian muck-raking and a split field to gain a shock victory.
Wembley’s high command now face a £10million bill to ensure their bid wins and they host the tournament across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
A decision is set to be made by Uefa’s ruling executive committee in September 2023.
But the unwillingness of Gianni Infantino’s Fifa or Uefa to do the decent thing and completely ban Vladimir Putin’s murderous regime following the invasion of Ukraine came back to bite the reputation of the entire game.
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One outraged insider said: “It is just despicable that Russia still thinks it is part of the community of civilised nations.
“This is a disgrace, pure and simple.”
The news of the bid came just three hours before last night’s deadline, just as the FA-led bid was preparing to put out the bunting.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin believed he had pulled enough strings to ensure the five-nation bid would be unopposed.
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Instead, the UK will now have to tap into the £10m Government warchest that had been earmarked for grassroots and other projects.
In a statement, Uefa confirmed the British Isles’ joint bid for 2028 has two rivals.
European football bosses said: “Russia and Turkey declared their interest in hosting either the 2028 or 2032 edition of Uefa’s flagship national team competition, while Italy announced its intention to bid for Euro 2032.”
While Russia was booted out of Thursday night’s scheduled World Cup play-off semi-final against Poland by Fifa and Uefa, neither organisation suspended their FA.
It means Russian Football Union president Alexander Dyukov, chief executive of Gazprom and a prominent Putin supporter, has retained his place on Uefa’s ruling executive committee.
Russia and Belarus are expected to attend next week’s Congress of Fifa’s 211 member associations in Doha, mingling with football dignitaries from across the world — including UKRAINE.
Dyukov claimed his nation “must take the opportunity to host the Euros”, adding: “It will be at the World Cup stadiums.”
The bids for both tournaments have put Ceferin in the spotlight after he declared in December, under questioning from SunSport: “You can bid for one or the other but not both.”
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Uefa was forced to admit the regulations had not been changed to reflect the president’s on-the-record position, meaning Russia and Turkey were free to apply for both events.
A Uefa statement said: “The Bureau of the Fifa Council and the Uefa executive committee decided on February 28 to suspend all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, from participation until further notice.
“However, no suspension of the Russian Football Union was imposed.
“The Uefa executive committee will remain on standby to convene further extraordinary meetings to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary.”
One Uefa source suggested Russia were acting as no more than spoilers, vowing: “They will get zero votes.”
Ceferin was said to be “spitting tacks” at the move, that saw Nyon bosses scrambling to hint Russia WILL be banned from bidding.
And Fifa could suspend Russia if they suspect government interference in football matters.
As it stands, Russia are set to go head to head with the FA-lead bid over the next 18 months until Ceferin’s committee makes its final decision in a secret ballot.
An FA statement read: “We believe Euro 2028 would be one of the greatest sporting events ever held in the UK and Ireland.
“This unprecedented partnership of five associations offers something special to European football, including the potential for an expanded tournament and we are passionate about maximising the sustainability and legacy benefits for communities across the UK and Ireland.
“Football must do everything possible to show how our sport can be a force for good — now, more than ever.
“We are resolute in our belief in the power of football to help bring people together.”