Ireland and the UK have submitted a formal 'expression of interest' in hosting Euro 2028.

Today was the deadline for national football associations to confirm their interest in bidding to host the event.

How did we get here?
The national associations of the Republic of Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales had been involved in a feasibility study looking at a possible bid for the centenary World Cup finals in 2030.

However, they jointly announced on 7 February their intention to go for Euro 2028 instead.

Why did they do that?
Mark Bullingham, the chief executive of the English FA, spoke last month about the greater "uncertainty" surrounding the FIFA process.

The bidding regulations for 2030 have not yet been confirmed, while the international calendar beyond 2024 is not yet fixed.

The possibility of a switch to biennial World Cups looks increasingly unlikely, but altogether the Euros were deemed the more appealing option.

Wembley looks set to host the final of Euro 2028

Who else is in the running?
Prior to their invasion of Ukraine, 2018 World Cup hosts Russia had been reported to be interested, while perennial bidders Turkey were also mentioned.

However, it was reported earlier this week that there were no other formal bids lodged with UEFA with 24 hours to the deadline, appearing to give the UK and Ireland bid a clear run at it.

Certainly, no other association has publicly stated an intention to bid.

If it is the sole bid, what happens then?
UEFA is due to confirm bidders on 5 April, according to the bidding process information it released last October.

If the UK and Ireland bid stands alone, the five associations would then have until the end of the year to provide the necessary government guarantees to UEFA on issues such as security, visas and tax exemptions.

Where would matches be played?
London's Wembley Stadium would be the obvious favourite to host the final, while any number of Premier League stadia fit the bill.

The Aviva Stadium and Croke Park in Dublin, The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Hampden Park in Glasgow would also be likely to feature, while Northern Ireland is also keen to host matches.

A redeveloped Casement Park could be one option, but nothing was ruled in or out by Irish Football Association chief executive Patrick Nelson last month.

An artist's impression of the new Casement Park

In all, the five associations should comfortably be able to fulfil the stadium requirements set by UEFA - a minimum of ten stadia in total, one holding at least 60,000 one or preferably two of 50,000, at least four with a minimum of 40,000 capacity and at least three holding a minimum of 30,000 people.

Who would qualify?
That is still to be decided. UEFA's bidding information published last year said automatic qualification cannot be guaranteed for any more than two hosts.

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney said last week the bidding countries had agreed on a "concept" for determining qualification, but that UEFA would have the final say.

It is widely expected that Euro 2028 will be the first continental finals to feature 32 instead of 24 teams.

Is this good news for UEFA?
Very much so. Following on from hosting Euro 2024 in another big market, Germany, a finals staged across the UK and Ireland promises a major revenue boost for UEFA and its member associations as they recover from the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There had been concerns that the chaos surrounding the Euro 2020 final had damaged England's reputation as a major event host.

However, UEFA continues to demonstrate its faith in Wembley and will bring the 'Finalissima' match between Italy and Argentina to the London venue in June, while England are also the hosts for this summer's Women's Euro.