Almost two-thirds support UK & Ireland Euro 2028 bid, but only 30% think such events have a positive impact

62% of the British public supports a joint bid by the UK and the Republic of Ireland to host the UEFA Euro 2028 tournament: however, less than a third think that sporting events - such as the FIFA World Cup, won by Argentina on Sunday - have a positive long-lasting positive impact on the host country, a new poll has found.

The UK & Ireland bid promises to deliver “strong and sustainable legacy for football and wider society, helping to drive economic growth in local communities”. However, with 53% of people thinking that there is no, or even a negative impact, of such an event, the public seems yet to be convinced.

The Serco Institute, who published the poll conducted by Survation, called for the bid to show the best of public services and leverage the event to support community infrastructure.

22% of people polled thought such tournaments’ most advantageous outcome was a boost to tourism, whereas 21% thought economic growth was the principal benefit to the host country; another 12% thought focus should be placed on improving local sporting infrastructure.

The winter World Cup in Qatar has offered its own drama and excitement on the field. However, its suitability as a host was questioned by many amidst ongoing concerns about human rights, migrant worker safety and its size. The long-term impact remains unclear, with Qatar's economic growth set to decline in 2024 and questions continuing to loom over whether the World Cup has improved the country’s brand on the international stage.

Commenting on the findings, Ben O’Keeffe, Deputy Director of the Serco Institute, said:

“From the World Cup to the Olympics, international sporting events often claim to have a focus on the impact they have on local communities, grassroots sport and improved infrastructure. It feels like too often these claims have not been matched by the reality of what the public has experienced.  

Questions clearly remain over the benefits of this year’s World Cup for Qatar. There is no doubt it has thrust the country into the spotlight and boosted tourism. But with growth set to slow next year and the country continuing to face significant scrutiny over human rights issues, it has also thrown up challenges also.

“London 2012 and the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup both promised significant, lasting impacts, but as this poll shows, these off-the-field benefits don’t seem to be felt by the majority of the public.

“The UK & Ireland Euro 2028 bid can catalyse improvements for public services – such as public transport – and community infrastructure, including investment in leisure and sporting facilities.  

“The appetite for a 2028 tournament across the British Isles is there, and so is the promise of a ‘sustainable legacy’. Now the bid team must work to translate this into a plan which can be implemented to deliver real, visible impact.” 

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