UEFA chiefs are putting the heat on Turkey to withdraw from the race to host Euro 2028 – so the England-led bid can be confirmed as the winner.
Russia was booted out of the contest leaving Turkey as the only remaining rival to the five nation British Isles bid headed by The FA.
But with Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin pulling the strings, Europe’s governing body is urging the Turks to withdraw from the race and concentrate on a bid against Italy to host the 2032 tournament.
If more than one bidder remains in the contest, a final decision will be made by Uefa’s ruling executive committee, now fiercely loyal to Ceferin, in September 2023.
Yet the pressure on the Turks to accept they cannot win either bid unless the Uefa leadership takes a position of neutrality for 2032 is growing.
Uefa Treasurer, former Manchester United chief executive David Gill, ramped up the slow-drip of leverage as he outlined the organisation’s financial plans at this week’s Congress in Vienna.
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Gill revealed that the pandemic followed by the ongoing Ukraine crisis have made finances “less predictable."
He then told all 55 member associations: “Earnings from the Euros and Champions League will be crucial to restoring Uefa’s reserves to pre-pandemic level by Euro 2028 at the latest.”
It was a clear signal of intent, with Uefa viewing the 2024 tournament in Germany and the planned five nation event four years later as vital money-makers.
Meanwhile, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham is a member of the Uefa working party devising plans for a new qualifying competition for a 32-team event.
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Bullingham said: “I don’t think you could expand the Euros to 32 and keep the qualifiers the same. It absolutely has to change and there are literally seven different options being explored.”
The most recent European Championships took place across 11 different countries, with Wembley hosting eight games and Hampden Park hosting four.
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