GARETH BALE will give an international RETURN for Wales in Geneva next month.
The five-time Champions League winner, who captained Wales for the first time in 64 years in Qatar last year, has been included in the Euro 2028 bid team in the hope of bringing the competition to the home nations and Ireland.
Bale, who won 111 international caps over a 16-year period, is expected to be one of the star players of the 2028 European Championships if the bid is successful.
FAW chief executive Noel Mooney said: “We hope for a successful bid and Gareth Bale is an integral part of the FAW and our work.”
“When we asked him to get involved, the answer was immediate: How can I help you get the offer over the finish line? Gareth is known worldwide and was therefore identified by the FAW as one of the faces of the application presentation.
“You can get into a taxi in Sydney or Peru and when you mention you’re from Wales they say ‘Gareth Bale’. It’s an instant reaction.
“When I go home to the west of Ireland the first thing people say is how Gareth Bale is doing. Gareth is so good for us.”
The home nations and Ireland have put together a joint bid to bring Euro 2028 to the two islands and the FAW hopes to play six games at the Principality Stadium.
The same venue hosted seven FA Cup finals, the 2012 Olympic football final and the 2017 Championship League final between Real Madrid and Juventus at the start of the millennium.
“We can achieve much more in a multi-game competition than in a one-off Champions League final,” Mooney added.
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“Hopefully the bid to join in 2028 will be successful and we can play six games in Wales. We are hearing things about Turkey’s offer, but no one has told us that they have backed out.
“As five national bodies, we have invested a lot of time in our bid and we are all trying every day to do the right thing to bring them to the two islands.
“What the 2016 European Championship did for France as a brand and what it will do for Germany in 2024 was fantastic. The Corona hit was not the same as the European Championships, and the World Cup in Qatar was a completely different experience.”
UEFA will decide how many of the bidding nations get an automatic place in the tournament and Mooney admits work needs to be done to modernize the so-called “National Stadium of Wales”.
“We are lucky to have a fantastic stadium in a great city. “Cardiff hosted a very successful Champions League final in 2017 and Uefa were very happy with that,” he said.
“But we believe we can get more out of hosting a series of games than a single game. Tens of thousands of Spanish and Italian fans were in Cardiff for the game against Real Madrid and Juventus and everyone had a great time, but were gone the next day.
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“Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government support the offer and are pleased with the projected return on investment. Millions of pounds will need to be spent on the Principality Stadium to bring it up to standard.
“It needs better floodlights and a scoreboard. There are also details about hospitality numbers and TV space that still need to be discussed, but these are all things that will be sorted out.”