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Casement Park Issues Throw Northern Ireland's Euro 2028 Status Into Doubt

Casement Park Issues Throw Northern Ireland's Euro 2028 Status Into Doubt
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Ireland hasn't had much luck bidding fro major sporting events in the past, with the attempts to bring the likes of Euro 2008 and the 2023 Rugby World Cup falling flat on their face.

In saying that, there is a realistic possibility that we could see Euro 2028 come to these shores. Ireland has joined up with the United Kingdom to bid for the tournament, a process they are currently seen as the favourites to win.

While England will host the majority of games, both Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium would play a sizeable role should the bid turn out to be successful.

However, Northern Ireland's status is far less certain.

Casement Park is the only Ulster venue to be included in bid, with Windsor Park not making the cut due to its size being well below UEFA's required capacity. That is far from ideal, especially when you consider that the GAA venue has laid in ruin for almost a decade.

Northern Ireland participation in Euro 2028 thrown into doubt

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While Casement Park has been included as a potential venue in the Euro 2028 bid, there remains some major doubts as to whether any redevelopment work would be completed in time. Planning permission has been granted for a 34,578-seater stadium, although the project has yet to get underway.

Speaking to the Irish Sun, Former Irish FA President Jim Boyce said that he feels there is little prospect of Northern Ireland hosting any games in the tournament.

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While Northern Ireland are joining in the bid to host Euro 2028 with England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, the chances of Casement Park being ready are slim. There is little chance.

The government in Northern Ireland are not even meeting at the minute, the money hasn’t been released, there hasn’t been a brick laid at Casement Park.

My honest opinion is that it would take a miracle for Casement Park to be available for European Championship matches to be played in 2028...

It is not realistic (that Casement Park will be built by Euro 2028).

I hope the bid is successful, I’m all for the bid taking place. But I think all Northern Ireland can hope for is some preparation games being played in Northern Ireland.

Should Casement Park be unavailable, Northern Ireland's only role in the tournament could be hosting training camps for participating teams.

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UEFA's concerns over Casement Park were part of a preliminary dossier sent across in response to the bid submission, with any such issues having to be clearer up by April.

Turkey are the other competitors for the tournament, with a vote on hosting rights set to be held in September.

SEE ALSO: Roy O'Donovan Recalls Roy Keane's Surprising Attitude To Drinking On Christmas Day

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