UEFA set for ‘crisis talks’ over Russia Euros bid – reports

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UEFA is set to snub any Russian attempts to host the European Championship in 2028 or 2032, according to reports, after Russia issued a surprise statement of interest in holding the showpieces.

UEFA confirmed on Wednesday that Russia was among the countries to lodge a declaration of interest in hosting either Euro 2028 or Euro 2032, after figures from the Russian Football Union (RFU) stated their intentions despite the country being under UEFA and FIFA sanctions due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Turkey also expressed its interest in Euro 2028 in addition to a joint UK-Ireland bid, which ahead of Wednesday’s deadline had been expected to be unopposed for the tournament.

As well as Russia, Turkey and Italy have stated interest in staging the event in 2032.

The Russian statement came as a surprise to many considering that its teams and clubs were banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions in February.

A report in UK newspaper The Telegraph has claimed UEFA will hold ‘crisis talks’ on how to respond to the Russian bid, while The Guardian claims Russia will be warned it faces more sanctions if it formally proceeds with its interest in the tournaments.

In a statement, UEFA noted that there was nothing stopping the RFU from submitting a declaration of interest, but that it reserved the right to further legal measures.

“The Bureau of the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee decided on 28 February to suspend all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. However, no suspension of the Football Russian Union was imposed at that time,” a statement read, according to ESPN.

“The UEFA Executive Committee will however remain on standby to convene further extraordinary meetings, on a regular ongoing basis where required, to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary, including in light of the declaration of interest expressed by the Russian Football Union for hosting the UEFA Euro.”

Russian football officials said on Wednesday that they had a right to express interest in the events, and that the current situation should not preclude their potential hosting of tournaments.

“We are open and ready, we should not be closed to UEFA and FIFA,” said RFU Executive Committee member Rustem Saymanov.

“We’ve held lots of competitions at a high level… There’s a lot of time, the situation will change, we will study everything.”

Elsewhere, the likes of former Zenit St. Petersburg and Arsenal star Andrey Arshavin admitted that Russia’s chances of being granted the Euros were “slim” but that things could change for the better.

UEFA is set to confirm the names of the countries involved in the full bidding process on April 5, before confirming the hosts in September.

Russia was widely seen as successfully welcoming the 2018 FIFA World Cup – which many considered among the best-ever editions of the tournament – while St. Petersburg held seven matches at Euro 2020 last summer.

The current bans on Russia mean that the men’s national team is set to miss out on the chance to qualify for the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup, after an RFU appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was rejected.

St. Petersburg was also stripped of the 2022 UEFA Champions League final, which has been relocated to Paris.