UEFA has all but confirmed its long-expected host for the European Championship in 2028 and 2032 on Wednesday by formally accepting a joint bid proposal from Italy and Turkey for the 2032 edition.
Turkey has also been bidding for the 2028 edition against the strongly favoured U.K. and Ireland combined plan, which is now left as the only candidate.
“Their (Turkey’s) bid to stage UEFA Euro 2028 is consequently withdrawn,” European soccer’s governing body said in a statement.
Both 2028 and 2032 hosting decisions must be formally approved by the UEFA executive committee meeting next Tuesday in Nyon, Switzerland. Those should be a formality.
UEFA has accepted an Italy-Turkey bid despite its own rules stating that only neighbouring member federations can propose co-hosting. Rome and Istanbul are separated by about 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) with flights taking more than two hours.
Italy likely had support in the UEFA ruling committee to beat Turkey in a head-to-head vote but does not have 10 stadiums ready or in planning to host a 24-team, 51-game tournament.
It needs to build and renovate an aging inventory of stadiums yet construction projects in Italy, such as replacing the iconic San Siro stadium in Milan and Stadio Olimpico in Rome, can be bureaucratic and slow.
Turkey has stadiums and infrastructure almost entirely ready after a massive national construction project in the last two decades. Euro 2024 will be hosted by Germany alone.