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FAI and IFA announce joint bid to host Euro 2023 Under-21 Championship


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The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Irish Football Association (IFA) have announced a joint bid to host the 2023 UEFA Under-21 European Football Championship.

The governing bodies which administer football in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively revealed their plan at Windsor Park in Belfast.

The final formal bid will be submitted to European football's governing body UEFA in 2019 with a decision expected in early 2020.

Potential venues are yet to be finalised as part of the joint bid process, but matches could be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, the redeveloped Dalymount Park in Dublin, Ballymena Showgrounds, Tallaght Stadium and Turner’s Cross in Cork. 

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has also confirmed that Thomond Park in Limerick and Kingspan Stadium in Belfast can also be used as potential venues in any bid that goes forward.

If the bid is successful, both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland's Under-21 teams would qualify automatically for the tournament as hosts. Neither side has previously qualified for the final tournament.

Patrick Nelson ©INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

"This is an historic announcement as it sees both the FAI and the Irish FA working together on a project which will bring significant benefits to Ireland - north and south. We believe that the unique nature of our bid makes it a compelling vision for both UEFA and the wider European football family," said FAI chief executive John Delaney.

"Both Associations have a recent history of working together on various projects, including Third Level Football, Walking Football, and the introduction of the President's Junior Cup. This joint bid further strengthens that level of co-operation and co-hosting the U-21 finals in 2023 will follow on from our hosting of the U-17 EUROs next summer and four games in EURO 2020 in Aviva Stadium."

Delaney's IFA counterpart also welcomed the move.

"Northern Ireland successfully hosted the 2017 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship and will host the UEFA Under-19 Championship in 2020. We saw last year how a tournament can help inspire a generation to play football and I have no doubt that, if successful, 2023 would help grow the game at all levels," said IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson.

"We could not host a tournament of this scale on our own, therefore I am pleased that both Associations are working in partnership on this bid. I believe that together we can showcase the best of the game in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to the football world."


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