By Niall Gartland
There was a significant step forwards towards a redeveloped Casement Park potentially hosting matches at Euro 2028 after UEFA announced Turkey’s decision to withdraw their bid to host the tournament.
Their decision to withdraw means that Ireland and Britain’s joint-bid for Euro 2028 is unopposed and that they will be confirmed as hosts by the UEFA Executive Committee next week.
Casement Park has been dormant since 2013 but it is one of only two venues on the Island – alongside the Aviva in Dublin – that have been lined up as potential venues for the Euro 2028 tournament.
It will be the first time that Ireland will play host to a major International Soccer tournament and has acted as a major selling point for the proposed redevelopment of the principal GAA stadium in Belfast, Casement Park, which could host as many as four games at the tournament.
The redevelopment has been beset by hitches but final planning approval for the new 34,500 capacity stadium was granted by then-Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon in 2021.
Building work is set to begin at the end of next year and it is anticipated that the stadium will be completed by 2026. The overall cost could top £168 million, double the cost of original estimates, the vast majority, but the UK Government has committed to paying the surplus cost of £91 million. It was reported today by BBC’s Conor McAuley that the GAA is engaged in ongoing talks with the UK Goverment on the matter.
Speaking earlier this week, Ulster GAA Chief Executive Brian McAvoy said: “The Casement Park redevelopment has been going on for too long and we hope to be on site next year to begin the construction process.
““If the Euro 2028 bid is successful it will be a great boost. As an Association we have a good working relationship with the IFA and the other members of the bid team and have been delighted to work with them on this project.
“Hopefully the bid will be successful and hopefully we can make sure that all bidding Associations for Euro 2028 can host games in the tournament.
“We are delighted to make Casement Park available so that matches can come to Belfast which would be fantastic for everyone involved.”