UK Athletics and UK Sport in talks over ambitious double bid for European and World Championships


UK Athletics and UK Sport are in discussions over a double bid to bring the European Championships and the World Championships to Britain in the next nine years.

Sportsmail can reveal there is interest and government backing to stage the Europeans in London in 2026 and that they want the worlds to follow in 2027.

The two separate plans are expected to be included on a list unveiled by UK Sport in London on Wednesday, in which the funding body will detail their future hosting targets, with the most prominent being the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

It is understood that athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, is keen to bring the sport back to Britain, having seen attendance records smashed when their world championships were held in London last year. 

More than 705,000 tickets were sold across the 10 days – almost 300,000 up on Berlin 2009, the next highest – and a post-event study valued the economic impact on the capital at between £109m and £159m.

The difference with Doha, which will stage the worlds next year, is expected to be dramatic, amid significant fears of low crowds and tough climactic conditions.

In the case of the European bid, if it is successful it would represent the first time Britain has hosted the championships in its 24-edition history.

The London Stadium, which played home to the 2012 Olympics and the worlds last year, has been identified by UKA sources as the likely home of either or both championships. But London could ultimately face competition from Birmingham.

The existing Alexander Stadium, which is serves as the headquarters of UKA, is being replaced with a 40,000-capacity facility ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

UKA is currently beset by leadership issues in the wake of the departure of CEO Niels de Vos and the uncertainty surrounding chairman Richard Bowker’s position. However, it is considered highly unlikely that the organisation’s interest in staging the 2026 Europeans and 2027 worlds will be affected by personnel changes at the top.


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