UK and Ireland’s World Cup 2030 bid: What we know so far

Alex Young
·3-min read

In the words of UK prime minister Boris Johnson, football may "come home" in 2030 as a joint bid to host the World Cup is proposed.

Johnson said: "We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030."

A successful bid will be the first since England hosted, and won, the World Cup tournament in 1966 - their only success to date - and would mark a 64-year gap.

This is not the first time England, and the UK, have proposed taking on hosting duties, and there remains a long road ahead.

Here's the lay of the land so far.

Getty Images
Getty Images

What comes next

Johnson revealed the prospect of a joint bid with The Sun on March 1, adding: "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. We want to see a bonanza of football in the years ahead."

Johnson's words were met with a "delighted" joint-statement from the football associations of England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

It read: "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."

England manager Gareth Southgate added: “It would be an amazing experience for everyone.”

However, first things first, there will be a feasibility study done to determine if such a task is do-able before the official bidding process begins in 2022.

The government has pledged £2.8million towards a potential bid.

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Why a joint World Cup 2030 bid?

Only once before has World Cup hosting duties been spread over multiple nations, when Japan and South Korea hosted in 2022, but shared responsibilities is likely to become more common moving forwards.

From 2026, World Cup tournaments will be contested by 48 teams, not 32. The 2026 World Cup hosts are Canada, Mexico and United States.

When England last hosted the World Cup in 1966 it was just 16 teams, the same number who competed in Euro 1996.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Past unsuccessful World Cup bids

The 2030 bid, should one materalise, will be the fifth time England have been involved in attempts to host the World Cup.

England lost out to Italy in 1990, withdrawing before the voting process, and to France in 1998, again withdrawing before votes were cast.

England went closer in 2006, with the new Wembley Stadium their centrepiece and included holders Manchester United famously withdrawing from the FA Cup in favour of the Fifa Club World Cup in 1999 as it was viewed as benefical to the bid. Germayn was ultimately successful, with England finishing third behind South Africa.

Arguably the most disastrous was 2018 bid, costing a reported £19million and amassing just two of 22 votes which saw them knocked out in the first round.

Shanghai SIPG's new stadium is one of many in China.AFP via Getty Images
Shanghai SIPG's new stadium is one of many in China.AFP via Getty Images

Rival bidders

So, who are the UK and Ireland's rivals this time? A quad-nation bid will come from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Morocco are ready for a sixth attempt, and could go alone again or be joined by Tunisia and Algeria.

Another quadruple effort will come from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia.

Other potential bids, like the UK's is a joint effort from Portugal and Spain, who failed in 2018. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have suggested teaming up.

China, Cameroon and Egypt have all expressed interest in individual hosting responsibilities. North and South Korea have previously teased a joint bid.

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images


To host 2030 World Cup

  • UK and Ireland 3/1

  • Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile 7/2

  • Morocco 4/1

  • Spain and Portugal 11/2

  • Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia 6/1

  • Other 10/1

  • Egypt 12/1

  • Colombia, Ecuador and Peru 20/1

  • Cameroon 22/1

  • North and South Korea 66/1

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

To win 2030 World Cup

  • Brazil 5/1

  • England, France 6/1

  • Germany 7/1

  • Spain 8/1

  • Italy, Portugal 11/1

  • Argentina 13/1

  • Netherlands 14/1

  • Belgium 33/1