Russia is preparing a bid to host soccer’s European Championship in either 2028 or 2032 despite its teams currently being suspended from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. 

The Associated Press reported Wednesday the Russian Football Union executive committee met and decided they “support the decision to declare interest.” 

“We must take the opportunity to host the Euro,” RFU president Alexander Dyukov told Russia’s Match TV. “It will be at the World Cup stadiums and we have developed infrastructure.” 

UEFA announced that Russia will be bidding against the British Isles and Turkey for the rights to host the Euro 2028, and against Turkey and Italy for 2032. 

Why is Russia suspended from international play?

Last month, FIFA announced that it had indefinitely suspended Russia from competing in any international competition and condemned the “use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.” 

ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti explained why Russia’s suspension is unprecedented. 

“FIFA suspends members all the time. Just last week, they suspended Kenya and Zimbabwe for government inference. Last year, it was Chad and Pakistan for the same reasons,” he wrote at the time of the suspension being announced.

“Usually it happens because of government interference, corruption or financial irregularities. Sometimes it can happen for doping or sporting corruption (like this famous case involving Chile in 1989). But to suspend a member nation for political reasons is very rare. It happened to Yugoslavia in 1992 at the height of the civil war and to South Africa in 1961 because of the country’s apartheid policy and insistence on fielding all-white teams. But there are key aspects that make this different.”

What’s the next step on bids for Euro 2028 and 2032? 

For Russia, which hosted the 2018 World Cup, and all other bidders, the next steps come from UEFA. UEFA will provide tournament requirements to the bidders by next Wednesday, then confirm their candidacies on April 5, according to the Associated Press.

A final decision from the UEFA executive committee on the bids, though, won’t come until September 2023.

“We assume that Russia is already prepared to to host large-scale competitions. We have the experience,” Dyukov said.