Evening Telegraph (First Edition)

PM backs joint UK and Republic of Ireland bid to host 2030 World Cup

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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 starts next year.

The prime minister said: “We are 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 it welcomed “the government’s pledge of £2.8 million 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 the Republic of Ireland said: “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, while the 2026 tournament is to be held in the US, Canada and Mexico.

England has 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.

McAllister, who is a member of the Football Associatio­n of Wales Trust board, said: “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.

“Hosting a World Cup would be an amazing experience,” said the Three Lions boss.

“It’s not perhaps as eye-catching but I think there’s £25 million being put towards grassroots pitches.

“At the moment it is heartbreak­ing every weekend to see empty pitches but actually, when we are back up and getting ourselves back on our feet, sport for kids and getting kids engaged again in playing sport is going to be so important for us.”

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