Russia launches rival bid to host Euro 2028 or 2032 amid Ukraine invasion

Russia is launching a bid to host the 2028 European Championship in a challenge to the British Isles entry or against Italy for the 2032 edition, despite its teams being suspended from international competitions over the war in Ukraine.

A meeting of the Russian Football Union (RFU) executive committee decided on Wednesday to "support the decision to declare interest" in the 2028 and 2032 tournaments, the organisation said in a statement ahead of the deadline for expressions of interest to be submitted to UEFA.

"We are going to file a bid for hosting of the 2028 and 2032 European Championships," RFU board member Sergei Anokhin said on broadcaster Match TV.

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UEFA confirmed later on Wednesday that Russia, along with Turkey, had declared their interest in hosting either the 2028 or 2032 tournament.

European football's governing body also confirmed that there are no regulations currently in place to prevent Russia from bidding for the tournaments, despite its teams being banned from international competition. However, fresh sanctions could yet be applied.

"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 Union of Russia was imposed at that time," read a statement to ESPN.

"The UEFA Executive Committee will nevertheless remain on standby to convene further extraordinary meetings, on a regular ongoing basis where required -- in addition to its already-scheduled meetings of 7 April and 10 May -- 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 Football Union of Russia for hosting the UEFA EURO."

Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup; the venue for the final -- Luzhniki Stadium -- was used last week for a rally supporting President Vladimir Putin.

"We are sending the declaration today," Dyukov said. "We assume that Russia is already prepared to to host large-scale competitions. We have the experience."

Russia's unlikely plan is sure to face fierce opposition. Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic had independently announced they would refuse to play Russia in World Cup qualifying even on neutral territory -- ahead of FIFA's decision to suspend Russia.

UEFA will provide the tournament requirements to bidders next Wednesday and then confirm their candidacies on April 5. The deadline to submit final bid dossiers is not until April 2023, with a decision by the UEFA executive committee in September 2023.

"We reserve the right to enter a bid," Dyukov said. "This option doesn't cost anything. And you can't refuse it, if it isn't expensive."

The British Isles' bid is being led by England and also features Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

ESPN's Mark Ogden contributed to this report.