Boris Johnson pledges £2.8m towards British and Irish bid for 2030 World Cup

Sean Ingle
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA</span>
Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged £2.8m towards a potential joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup, saying it is the “right time” to “bring football home”.

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There will be some eyebrows raised over the fact the government is willing to be part of a fresh bid for the World Cup given the disastrous campaign for the 2018 tournament – hosted by Russia – which cost £19m and saw the bid knocked out in the first round of voting with a meagre two votes from Fifa’s executive committee.

In an interview with the Sun, Johnson 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.”

Plans for a renewed bid were first announced by UK Sport in October 2018 and a feasibility study will continue before the formal bidding process begins next year.

Simon Morton, UK Sport’s chief operating officer, has promised that the FA will take a very different approach this time after being widely criticised for courting controversial Fifa figures, such as the former Concacaf president Jack Warner, who was later banned. UK Sport is also confident that Fifa’s new World Cup voting rules make it much more likely that a British and Irish bid would succeed.

On Monday evening the Football Association said it welcomed “the Government’s pledge of £2.8m towards a potential bid” for the 2030 World Cup.

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A joint statement released by the English FA and the football associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland 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.”

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.

London, Glasgow and Dublin are among the 12 host cities for the delayed 2020 European Championship, which is scheduled to take place this summer.