KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: British and Irish football directors are considering seriously the door opened to them last month by UEFA and scrap their 2030 World Cup in favour of a pursuit of Euro 2028.
Support for that move has come from Julian Knight, the MP who chairs the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee. He has already suggested a domestic World Cup bid would almost certainly end in failure.
Last month Aleksander Ceferin, president of European federation UEFA, said his executive committee had decided to invite initial applications in hosting both Euro 2028 and 2032.
Ceferin said: “Expressions of interest have have to be at UEFA in March and then we will see how many bids we receive and decide the timeline with a decision in September 2023.”
This may prove a more attractive political option for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Knight clearly thinks so. He said: “Everyone knows that the furore over a World Cup bid is a giant, expensive vanity project.
“It’s sad as we are ideally suited to hosting a tournament, but “We have huge reputation problems in the international game. So it’s best to aim our sights at something achievable, drop the ‘we are the home of football’ malarkey, reform our domestic game and focus on winning and delivering a really great Euros.”
The UK government has committed £2.8m to a feasibility study into a 2030 World Cup bid and have been reassured that their chances of success have not been harmed after trouble broke out at England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.
England were given a one-match stadium ban following the unrest at July’s final at Wembley Stadium in London.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin also said the trouble “would not count against” a British and Irish bid.
England is the only one of the four home nations and the Republic of Ireland to have previously been sole hosts of a major tournament, the 1966 World Cup and Euro 1996, though they were one of 11 host countries for the pan-European Euro 2020 competition, along with Scotland.
Ireland were also due to host four Euro 2020 matches but withdrew in April as they were unable to provide assurances to Uefa over minimum spectator attendance levels because of coronavirus concerns.
England’s last attempt to host a World Cup ended in embarrassment when their bid for the 2018 tournament generated just two votes in the first round of voting, one of which came from the Football Association itself.