Prime Minister Boris Johnson backs joint UK and Ireland bid to host 2030 World Cup

Johnson also said UK is ready to host extra matches at the delayed Euro 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it is the 'right time' for UK and Ireland to launch a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup. PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it is the 'right time' for UK and Ireland to launch a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup. PA

A joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup has received support from the UK Government, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it is the "right time" to "bring football home".

A feasibility study is under way and will continue before the formal bidding process begins next year.

Johnson also said that Britain is ready to host extra matches in this year's European Championships.

In an interview with The Sun, Johnson said: "We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it's the right place.

"It's the home of football, it's the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country."

The English Football Association said on Twitter that it welcomed "the Government's pledge of £2.8million towards a potential bid" for the 2030 World Cup.

A joint statement released by the FA and the football associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland on Monday evening read: "The football associations and Government partners of the UK and Ireland are delighted that the UK Government has committed to support a prospective five-association bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

"We will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022.

"Staging a FIFA World Cup would provide an incredible opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for our nations.

"If a decision is made to bid for the event, we look forward to presenting our hosting proposals to FIFA and the wider global football community."

The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar next year, while the 2026 tournament is to be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

England have not hosted the World Cup since the victorious 1966 campaign.

Laura McAllister, who is standing for election to the Fifa Council as Uefa's female representative next month, believes there would be an appetite from the public to stage the event despite the hardships of the pandemic.

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McAllister, who is a member of the Football Association of Wales Trust board, told the PA news agency: "I understand the point but I think throughout the history of bids is that the public appreciate that football particularly and sport in general give such enormous pleasure to all of us.

"It's a source of satisfaction and a ray of light at dark times. Clearly public money is at a premium, we know we're going to have to rebuild the economy after Covid and the effects of the pandemic but having a World Cup on British soil for the first time since 1966 would be tremendous for every nation within the UK and I think we could do a fantastic job."

England manager Gareth Southgate would love the country to host the World Cup in 2030, while he highlighted the importance of the financial boost being given to grassroots football.

"Well, I think for everybody that [hosting a World Cup] would be an amazing experience," the Three Lions boss told talkSPORT."

The Euros are set to be played in 12 cities across the continent from June 11, after being postponed last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sun said British ministers are holding talks with Uefa about hosting more games due to rising cases across the continent and the slow rollout of vaccines.

Johnson's spokesman last week dismissed talk about England hosting the whole tournament but Johnson indicated the country could take on more than just the semi-finals and final at Wembley.

"Any other matches they want hosted, we are certainly on for that." he said. "We are hosting the Euros. We are hosting the semis and the final.

"If there's, you know, if they want any other matches that they want hosted, we're certainly on for that but at the moment that's where we are with Uefa."

Updated: March 2, 2021 07:16 PM


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