UP FOR THE CUP

Eng­land in pole po­si­tion to host 2030 tour­na­ment

Daily Mail - - Sports - Charles Sale

ENG­LAND’s chances of host­ing the World Cup in 2030 were be­ing talked up sig­nif­i­cantly on the day the 2026 hosts were elected.

UEFA Pres­i­dent Alek­sander Ce­ferin, Eng­land’s FIFA Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive David Gill and other coun­cil col­leagues were all en­thu­si­as­tic about an Eng­land bid which could also in­volve some of the other home na­tions.

There is now a strong im­pe­tus build­ing for the World Cup to re­turn to Europe — and, in­creas­ingly, Eng­land for the first time in 64 years — for its global show­case af­ter the ‘United’ bid of the Us, Canada and Mex­ico yes­ter­day won the right to stage the tour­na­ment in eight years.

There is also op­ti­mism among FIFA del­e­gates about a level play­ing field in fu­ture World Cup bids af­ter a trans­par­ent process — with all of congress vot­ing on the de­ci­sion for the first time — saw the ‘United’ bid beat Morocco by 134 votes to 65. Gill said: ‘It does give us great con­fi­dence that the vot­ing

pro­ce­dures now in place are ap­pro­pri­ate and rel­e­vant.’ and Gill added about a World Cup in eng­land, shared pos­si­bly with Scot­land and Wales: ‘You look at the as­sets that we’ve got in eng­land or the UK, in terms of grounds. Some of the best grounds in world foot­ball, the best train­ing grounds. So why not? It would be fan­tas­tic.’

Ce­ferin added: ‘It’s def­i­nitely europe’s turn in 2030 and it’s al­ways a bit stronger with more coun­tries. But at the same time eng­land can host on their own or with the rest of the UK.’

The other chal­lenge is com­ing from a com­bined South amer­i­can pro­posal from Uruguay, who staged the first World Cup in 1930, ar­gentina and Paraguay. They have ef­fec­tively set up a bid­ding head­quar­ters in Moscow.

But af­ter the fi­nan­cial and or­gan­i­sa­tional dif­fi­cul­ties of 2014 in Brazil, there is op­po­si­tion on the FIFA Coun­cil to re­turn­ing so soon to South amer­ica. Foot­ball’s top brass will not al­low sen­ti­ment around the World Cup re­turn­ing to Uruguay on its 100th an­niver­sary to be more im­por­tant than eco­nomic sense. The Fa are to mount a 12th month project look­ing into the fea­si­bil­ity of a World Cup bid con­ducted by a strength­ened in­ter­na­tional depart­ment.

UEFA Pres­i­dent Alek­sander Ce­ferin cred­its FA chair­man Greg Clarke’s trav­els around the globe for help­ing to rid the FA of their ‘ar­ro­gant’ rep­u­ta­tion that hurt the World Cup bids for 2006 and 2018. Ce­ferin (right) said: ‘Greg Clarke has changed that im­age very much. He’s trav­el­ling, he’s show­ing a dif­fer­ent face and I think he’s very pop­u­lar in Europe and also David Gill. The English FA is do­ing well.’ DAVID GILL, eng­land’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the FIFA coun­cil, was the first coun­cil­lor af­ter FIFA pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino to shake hands with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin af­ter his speech to the Congress in Moscow yes­ter­day.

Gill’s al­lo­cated seat po­si­tion on the ex­treme right of the FIFA front row, all of whom Putin greeted in turn, meant he had no choice. how­ever in con­trast Fa chair­man Greg Clarke and chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Glenn re­mained sit­ting down when Putin re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from the Congress floor. Gill said: ‘I didn’t feel am­bushed. It was the po­lite thing to do. he’s pres­i­dent of the coun­try and you show cour­tesy.’

ONE im­por­tant loop­hole for Eng­land to close ahead of a World Cup bid is the reg­u­la­tion that stopped three FIFA ter­ri­to­ries Guam, Puerto Rico and US Vir­gin Is­lands from vot­ing be­cause their del­e­gates had Amer­i­can pass­ports. Rus­sia vot­ing for the ‘United’ bid was the most sur­pris­ing vote cast with all the home na­tions also go­ing for that op­tion. The Rus­sian de­ci­sion sparked con­spir­acy the­o­ries at the Congress that FIFA pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino had per­son­ally made that vote re­quest to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

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