Russia’s football association has confirmed that it hopes to scupper the UK and Ireland’s bid to host Euro 2028 with a rival proposal.
The move drew immediate and fierce condemnation, with MPs accusing Russia and the Russian Football Union (RFU) of behaving like “trolling infants”.
England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland’s joint bid had been the only one on the table with just hours until tonight’s deadline.
But Russia, apparently undeterred by a global ban from sport for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, said it would register its interest in hosting Euro 2028 and 2032.
“The situation is very dynamic. At this particular moment there’s a negative trend, although it may change in some perspective,” RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov told the Telegraph.
“We have everything to host such an event. So why can’t we explore an opportunity, if there’s one? We should use every option to communicate and to bid for hosting the biggest competitions. If we don’t do anything, nothing will happen.
“We understand that our chances are lower now. Yet, if there are any, we should try. It’s never too late to step out.”
Julian Knight MP, chair of the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport select committee, said the international community should tell Russia “to simply do one”.
“If you ever wanted evidence that Russia and Russian sport is run by a bunch of trolling infants, just see this decision,” Knight added.
Former Irish FA president and Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said Russia’s interest should be instantly dismissed.
“It beggars belief that, after all that’s happening, and after all the loss of life by women, children and everyone else in this invasion of Ukraine, that Russia should decide at the last minute to put in a bid to host a football tournament,” he said.
Former FA chairman David Bernstein said it was “amazing that they should have the temerity to bid to host any event, let alone something of such import”.
He added: “It is extremely odd that they should embarrass themselves with something that is clearly bound to fail.”