Despite facing a wave of sanctions from FIFA and UEFA, Russia have surprisingly revealed they will launch a bid to host the 2028 and 2032 UEFA European Championships.
It was widely expected that a joint bid by the United Kingdom and Ireland for the 2028 tournament would be uncontested, while Turkey and Italy were believed to be the only two nations set to bid for the 2032 edition before Vladimir Putin's country intervened.
Russia's plan is likely to face fierce opposition, though, after the nation was suspended from international competition due to its invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Football Union's (RFU) executive committee released a statement on Wednesday declaring their intent to host either one of the two editions of the tournament.
"We are going to file a bid for hosting of the 2028 and 2032 European Championships," RFU board member Sergei Anokhin said on Match TV ahead of the deadline for expressions of interest to be submitted to UEFA.
UEFA has confirmed that Russia's interest is concrete, but also hinted that more sporting sanctions could be placed on the Eastern European nation.
"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," a statement from European football's governing body read, per 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."
According to ESPN, tournament requirements for bidders will be revealed by UEFA on 30 March, before confirming their candidacies on 5 April.
The deadline to submit final bid dossiers is only in April 2023, with a final decision by the UEFA executive committee set to take place in September that year.
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