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Stephen Kenny Urges Investment In Grassroots Despite 'Good News Story'

Stephen Kenny Urges Investment In Grassroots Despite 'Good News Story'
By Eoin Harrington Updated

EURO 2028 looks destined to come to Ireland. Earlier this month, it emerged that Ireland's combined bid with the FAs of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England was set to become the final bid standing to host the European Championships.

Today, that news was confirmed, and it seems as though the announcement from UEFA will come in due course. Facing the media ahead of Ireland's game with Belgium, Stephen Kenny spoke on the news.

He heralded the news as exciting for Irish football - but encouraged the government to up their investment in grassroots football in spite of the hosting news.

EURO 2028: Stephen Kenny speaks on news of Ireland hosting European Championships

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of his side's friendlies with Belgium and Lithuania in the coming days.

The press conference came in the wake of news that the combined UK-Ireland bid to host EURO 2028 is the final bid standing and, as a result, the tournament is now all but confirmed to be co-hosted by Ireland.

Kenny welcomed the news, saying that it presented an exciting moment for Irish football fans.

It’s positive to have the European Championships in Ireland.

It’s a good news story, and I’m sure the Irish supporters will look forward to having games in the country. It’s a distance away but I’m sure they’ll look forward to it when it happens.

Nonetheless, Kenny was quick to draw attention to the plight of grassroots football in Ireland.

21 March 2022; Manager Stephen Kenny speaks to his team during a Republic of Ireland training session at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Critics of the FAI's decision to bid to host EURO 2028 have pointed out the lack of investment in the League of Ireland and in grassroots football in recent years. The amount of money spent on hosting the EUROs in 2028 has raised a few eyebrows, given that lack of investment.

Kenny acknowledged those concerns, and pushed the Irish government to increase their funding for the game at a domestic level in Ireland.

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I would say that the infrastructure in this country is nowhere near where it needs to be. It needs serious government investment.

The Taoiseach has acknowledged that and said publicly that he wants to investment in academies in Ireland.

We are way behind in this country, we know that - but I don’t think that is necessarily conflicting with hosting Euro '28.

Do I want all the resources to be focused on that and away from all the other aspects of football in Ireland? No I don’t, of course not.

Can they coexist, can we continue to grow football at all levels in the country and the league and still have Euro 2028 as a separate entity and something to look forward to in several years time? Possibly. That’s the way I see it.

Stephen Kenny is in the midst of preparing his Ireland team to take on Belgium in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night, in a celebration of 100 years of the FAI. The Irish side will then take on Lithuania on Tuesday night in another friendly.

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Kenny recently signed a new contract with the FAI to take him through to the end of the 2024 European Championships. Who knows - we may even see him take charge at the 2028 edition of the tournament, leading Ireland to glory on home soil.

SEE ALSO: The Greatest LOI Recap In The World: Bohs Woes, Crowd Trouble And More

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