The UK are set to DITCH plans to host the 2030 World Cup with Ireland as the FA have no desire to enter a race they can’t win, with European allies likely to refuse to back bid after fans’ behaviour at Euro 2020 final
- The UK’s plans over the 2030 World Cup unlikely to be revealed until April
- The FA are unwilling to enter a race they stand little chance of winning
- Politics and ill feeling towards the UK after Brexit may also harm the bid
- There are also fears that violence at the Euro 2020 final could be a hindrance
We are unlikely to find out if the UK and Ireland will press ahead with a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup until April.
Many are convinced they already know the answer: no. There is a feeling that this is a race which cannot be won.
For the FA, there is the carrot of securing up to £550million Government investment into grassroots football as part of plans to back a joint UK and Ireland.
The FA are unlikely to make their decision on hosting the for 2030 World Cup until April
With Whitehall committed to spending £2.8m to conduct a feasibility study into a bid, the home nation FAs are correct to exhaust all avenues.
But the fact that certain figures within English football are questioning the necessity of the study indicates the expected direction of travel. In their eyes any bid would be doomed to failure.
The study will focus on six areas: budgeting for the tournament and cost apportionment; stadia across the five countries in relation to FIFA standards; security; governance; the socio-economic benefits of holding a major competition; and ‘winnability’. If it is decided there is a chance of a successful bid, there is a strong will at the FA to proceed.
A humiliating response to England’s bid for 2018 World Cup has left a poor appetite this time
Gareth Southgate’s men already enjoyed a handful of games on home soil at Euro 2020
But that is a very big ‘if’. England received two out of 22 votes in 2010 when they stood as candidates to host the 2018 World Cup and were eliminated in the first round ballot. It was a humiliating ordeal.
Sources claim sentiment towards English football has not improved since. Why?
Politics is at the heart of it. Post-Brexit attitudes towards the UK are a factor. ‘Why would other European nations vote for us when we’ve isolated ourselves from them?’ said one well-placed source.
The strong economic stability of English football is another consideration. Other nations need the benefits of hosting a World Cup more than the UK and Ireland.
Assertions that the trouble at the Euro 2020 final struck a fatal blow are said to be an exaggeration. UEFA have been clear that will not be a determining factor.
The behaviour of fans at Euro 2020 final at Wembley could affect sentiment towards the bid
The early mood from Europe appears to favour Spain and Portugal. But it has been pointed out to Sportsmail that Spain’s involvement in the European Super League breakaway attempt earlier this year could work in the UK and Ireland’s favour if it comes to a point where UEFA’s members must choose which bid to back ahead of the final FIFA vote.
The Premier League’s elite hardly covered themselves in glory — but as this newspaper revealed in April, UEFA wrote to the English FA thanking them for helping bring down the breakaway attempt. Could the UK and Ireland be persuaded to step away if they received encouragement to bid for Euro 2028? Maybe. But it seems UEFA would prefer the UK and Ireland and Spain and Portugal to sort it out among themselves.
Home nation FAs will hold talks with UEFA delegates to see how the land lies. But the smart money is on the UK and Ireland walking away.