World Cup 2030: UK & Republic of Ireland FAs abandon 2030 bid to focus on Euro 2028

The UK and Republic of Ireland football associations have agreed not to bid for the 2030 World Cup.

They will instead focus on a joint bid to host Euro 2028.

The decision comes after the UK government committed £2.8m to a feasibility study into the bid.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee chair Julian Knight had previously described the prospective World Cup bid as a “giant, expensive vanity project”.

On Monday he said: “It’s unacceptable that £2.8m in taxpayer money was wasted on a pipe dream that was clearly doomed from the start. Football in the UK needs to sort out its reputation at home before we can go after the biggest tournament.”

The feasibility study included an analysis of the economic impact, the political football landscape and the likely costs of hosting major international tournaments.

Following the study, the football associations of the Republic of Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland will focus on an official bid to host Uefa Euro 2028.

A statement said: "Hosting a Uefa Euro offers a similar return on investment, with the European tournament carrying a far lower delivery cost and the potential of the benefits being realised sooner. It would be an honour and a privilege to collectively host Euro 2028 and to welcome all of Europe.

Joint statement

It would also be a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the true impact of hosting a world-class football tournament by driving positive change and leaving a lasting legacy across our communities.”

The UK government had previously said it would invest £550m in grassroots football if the 2030 bid was successful, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hoping to “transform lives with a legacy to match the 2012 Olympics”.

England failed with a bid – fronted by former captain David Beckham, Prince William and former prime minister David Cameron – to host the 2018 World Cup, which was staged in Russia.

The UK government said it supported the five football associations’ decision and added that it remained “passionate about bringing a World Cup to the UK and Ireland when the time is right”.

Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the English FA, identified both bids as “brilliant” opportunities but said after assessing the “winnability” a decision was made to go for the Euro 2028 bid.

He added there was also “uncertainty” around future World Cups – football’s world governing body Fifa has proposed staging the tournament every two years as part of a revamped calendar.

FA of Wales president Stephen Williams also said the impact of a successful bid for Wales would be “immeasurable” and would leave a “long-lasting legacy”.

All associations say they will continue to “collaborate” with government partners about the next steps.

Original article published 07.02.2022 on the BBC Sport website

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