Euro 2028: Tournament not for Belfast?

source:; author: Paulina Skóra

Euro 2028: Tournament not for Belfast? The president of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Jarlath Burns, seems to have accepted the prospect that the 2028 European Championships will not be held at Casement Park. During the inauguration of the All-Ireland hurling championships, he stated that he currently does not foresee any matches being played in Belfast as part of this tournament.


The President of the federation expresses disappointment

It doesn't look like we will manage to organize the Euro – lamented Burns, focusing on the potential impact of this loss on the city. At the same time, the president announced that the redevelopment of Casement Park will continue, but not to the extent required to meet UEFA standards for hosting the European Championships. West Belfast deserves it, but we won't get it. It's a shame that the carrot was dangled in front of us and then taken away. And really, the biggest loser will be the society and economy of Northern Ireland – he concluded.

Redevelopment of Casement Park

The redevelopment of Casement Park has been delayed for over 10 years, but in 2022, after the issuance of a revised building permit and overcoming legal issues, it became part of the British and Irish bid to host Euro 2028. According to some estimates, the cost of upgrading the stadium to meet UEFA requirements exceeds £300 million, and although the British government initially suggested it would provide funds for this purpose, this position has changed in recent months.

Design of Casement Park

Lacking millions and time

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, during a May visit to the North, stated that the British government’s contribution to Casement would be significant and mentioned that Euro 2028 would leave a great legacy for the city. The entire project is being managed by the Strategic Investment Board, which informed us that it will take six weeks to tender and determine the costs – explained Burns. Then there will be another four weeks for appeals. We continue to work, but ultimately UEFA and its timelines are what matter.

Burns also said that elections in the UK have further complicated the funding issue. Earlier this year, the Irish government pledged £43 million from the Shared Island fund. The president remains hopeful that even if the Euro now seems unlikely, this money will still be allocated for this purpose. The GAA was able to contribute around £15 million from its own pocket.

Design of Casement Park

What was the redevelopment about?

At the time the stadium redevelopment permit was issued in 2022, the planned capacity was 34,578 seats. Eventually, the number of seats was to be reduced to 30,000. The tournament organizer, UEFA, requires that tournament venues have only seated areas, while the original concept for Casement Park envisioned something different.

It was planned to have 26,000 seated places and 8,500 standing places, as is common in Irish venues for Gaelic sports. However, it was believed that the stands with the capacity approved in 2022 would first be built, and just before Euro 2028, they would be reduced to meet UEFA requirements.

Design of Casement Park