Contact Us

Dublin’s Hotel And Leisure Sectors Hoping For Huge Boost From Hosting Euros

Two Dublin venues could be in line to host Euros 2028 matches.

Ireland may only be onlookers at this year’s World Cup in Qatar, but football fever could yet hit Dublin if an ambitious bid by the joint British and Irish Football Associations comes off.

Dublin’s hotel, leisure and retail sectors could be in line for a financial windfall of as much as €600M should a joint bid between all the home nations for the Euro 2028 football tournament be successful.

With Turkey the only other bidder, the Irish government is increasingly optimistic that two stadia in Dublin, plus possibly one in Belfast, will be successful as venues for hosting matches.

The UK and Ireland are now anxiously waiting on a verdict from UEFA after submitting their bid to host Euro 2028, with 14 shortlisted host stadiums recently revealed.

A win would be a huge boost to tourism, infrastructure, leisure and hospitality, with a host of boutique and volume hotels already slated to open in the coming years in Dublin and key retail schemes in the city centre potentially repositioning Dublin’s retail and leisure offer.

But a successful bid will also come at a price for Dublin’s city authorities, which will be required to invest in the infrastructure required to handle a major event.

Matches would potentially take place in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park, and in Belfast at the Casement Park Stadium.

After the cabinet signed off on a bid for Ireland to be a joint host of Euro 2028, Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers told RTE that there had been "a very extensive cost benefit analysis and objective scrutiny" of the proposal, which he predicted would show a net profit of at least €361M.

He added that this cost-benefit analysis sets out that the projected cost, including all contingencies and inflation out to 2028, would be up to €135M.

"It's a very strong return on investment," he said.

Aviva Stadium And Croke Park

If successful, Aviva Stadium and Croke Park would potentially share seven games, with between 120,000 and 150,000 fans expected to travel to Ireland during the tournament, depending on how many games are awarded across the two venues.

However, winning the bid is not without costs.

There is no hosting fee, but host nations do have to pay to upgrade venues to comply with UEFA rules and regulations, and it is likely that Croke Park would require a significant refurbishment, although only minor works would be required at the Aviva Stadium.

With UEFA deciding on a 28-team tournament, the Football Association of Ireland, or FAI, has worked with the GAA as part of the bid, as the Aviva Stadium is the only football stadium in Ireland that meets the minimum seated capacity of 33,000 to be eligible.

The projected investment includes capital upgrades to the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park, and there is potential for 2,600 direct jobs to be created, Chambers added.

The former received upgrades and investment ahead of the planned Euro 2020 matches, when it was due to host four games. However, the games were moved to Wembley and St Petersburg when the tournament was pushed to 2021 after the Irish government refused to allow the minimum 25% attendance required by UEFA because of public health restrictions.

The stadium will also host the 2024 Europa League Final.

About 50% of supporters would be expected to come from outside the UK and Ireland, and the Irish government would have to front costs on venues, transport, security and fan zones.

A final list of the 10 stadiums will be submitted to UEFA in April 2023, and that timeline could be accelerated if, as is expected — and barring a last-minute hitch — the bid involving Ireland is the only one put forward

In England matches would potentially be played at Wembley, Villa Park, Everton Stadium, London Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Etihad Stadium, St James' Park, Stadium of Light, Old Trafford, plus in Glasgow at Hampden Park and Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

The bid dossier is said to set out "a clear and compelling vision" for the tournament, using the slogan "Football for all. Football for good. Football for the future."

Croke Park will need upgrading in order to meet UEFA requirements.

However, the bid is not without its domestic critics. The FAI has this year emerged from the greatest crisis in its history, with accumulated debts running into tens of millions of euros.

At its annual general meeting in the Round Room of Dublin's Mansion House in July, the FAI said that it had posted a surplus of €6.7M for 2021, but the association remains in debt to the tune of €63.5M.

FAI Finance Director Alex O'Connell said the FAI was acutely aware of its large liabilities, but claimed that there had been a significant change in the auditor’s report and a previous reference to a material uncertainty around the accounting position of the organisation had been removed.

But there are still legacy debt issues to manage. The FAI has released a strategic plan for the next four years, notably to develop the game at all levels, with a particular emphasis on underage and girls’ participation. However, the association needs to rebuild trust with its clubs, members and supporters after years of controversy.

Associations Issue Joint Statement

"We are delighted that government partners of the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and officials in Northern Ireland, support this bid," a joint statement from the five bidding associations reads.

"Together, we believe we can deliver a world-class tournament, and that hosting Euro 2028 will achieve a strong and sustainable legacy for football and wider society, helping to drive economic growth in local communities.

"The UK and Ireland's track record of hosting successful major sporting events over many decades means we have the expertise and experience to take this world-class tournament to new heights."

Irish Minister for Sport Catherine Martin said officials from her department would continue to examine the costs and benefits of hosting the tournament.

"This tournament has the potential to deliver many benefits, particularly to Ireland’s recovering tourism sector," she said.

UEFA's executive committee is set to make a decision on hosting for Euro 2028 and Euro 2032 in September next year. The UK and Ireland had initially undertaken a feasibility study looking at the possibility of bidding for the 2030 World Cup, but switched focus to the Euros.