Russian Football Union has unexpectedly submitted a bid to host Euro 2028 despite the country’s ban from international football because of the invasion of Ukraine.
A last-minute expression of interest was submitted to UEFA by the Russian Football Union on Thursday, saying it wanted to host either 2028 or 2032.
UEFA has banned all Russian teams from competition but did not suspend the Russian Football Union which remains a member of FIFA and is clearly trying to exploit a loophole.
Russian Football Union president Alexander Dyukov still, somehow, sits on the UEFA executive committee and told Russia’s Match TV: “We reserve the right to enter a bid.”
A statement on the RFU website said it “supports the decision to declare interest in hosting the European Championship 2028 or 2032 in Russia”.
The UK and Ireland had been expected to be jointly handed the tournament in an uncontested process before the last-minute declaration of interest not only from Russia but also from Turkey.
UEFA is expected to confirm the identities of countries involved in the full bidding process on April 5 but made it abundantly clear that a Russian bid is unlikely to gain much traction.
“The UEFA Executive Committee will 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,” a statement said.
Appointment of the host nations for both 2028 and 2032 will be made in September next year.
Meanwhile, British prime minister Boris Johnson told a UK radio show it would be “beyond comprehension” for Russia to be considered. “I can’t believe it’s really a runner,” he said.