EURO 2028: Sunderland's Stadium of Light one of two North East venues shortlisted to host UEFA Euro 28 matches as part of joint UK and Ireland bid

City leaders have welcomed the decision by the FA to include Sunderland in the shortlisted cities for the UK and Ireland’s bid to host UEFA EURO 28.

Nine English stadia are on the list including Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and Newcastle’s St James’ Park.

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Sunderland's Stadium of Light has been shortlisted.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m delighted that the City of Sunderland and the Stadium of Light have been shortlisted as a potential host city and stadium for the Men’s UEFA EURO 2028 Football Championships.

“As a city with a huge passion for football, being part of the preliminary bid is incredibly positive.

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"Sunderland has a strong and rich heritage of hosting major international matches and the Stadium of Light is a world class venue which has already hosted international football.

“The City Council and SAFC also have a long history of working together to bring events to the city.

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Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light.

“While we’re aware that the selection process for the next stage is likely to be extremely competitive, to have been shortlisted is in itself testament to the first-class facilities our city and region already offers to fans and visitors, and to our city’s reputation for hosting major events.”

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The UK and Ireland bids face competition from Turkey, with UEFA’s executive committee set to make a decision on hosting for Euro 2028 and Euro 2032 in September next year.

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Steve Davison, chief operating officer at SAFC, added: “To have made the shortlist is brilliant news for the city and shows that we have the history, the facilities and the rich sporting background to compete with any major city in the country.

" As we have always maintained, the opportunity to tap into our community and express who we are as a city has been paramount to us whenever we have hosted events.

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"The chance to welcome visitors to Sunderland, and exhibit the rich traditions of what this city means to us, is one which we would grasp with both hands.”

Consultations with cities and stadia will continue into next year, with a final list due to be proposed to UEFA in April 23.