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 begins next year.
In an interview with The Sun, the Prime Minister said: “We are very, 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 on Twitter that it welcomed “the Government’s pledge of £2.8million 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 Republic of Ireland on Monday evening 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.
“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 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.
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, told the PA news agency: “I understand the point but I think throughout the history of bids is that the public appreciate that football particularly and sport in general give such enormous pleasure to all of us.
“It’s a source of satisfaction and a ray of light at dark times. 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.
“Well, I think for everybody that (hosting a World Cup) would be an amazing experience,” the Three Lions boss told talkSPORT.
“It’s not perhaps as eye-catching but I think there’s £25million this morning 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 – health, wellbeing, everything.
“That sort of sum going into facilities is really important as well.”