UK Government to pledge £2.8m towards joint World Cup 2030 bid with football associations of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland; FA making no plans to hosts additional Euro 2020 matches despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson's claims of UEFA talks
Tuesday 2 March 2021 18:24, UK
Boris Johnson has revealed plans to "bring football home" with a joint UK and Republic of Ireland bid for the football World Cup in 2030.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a Government fund of £2.8m to go towards a potential bid for the tournament, during his Budget statement on Wednesday.
A feasibility study is underway and will continue before the formal bidding process begins next year.
The English FA said on Twitter that it welcomed "the Government's pledge of £2.8m 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.
Premier League club Aston Villa are planning to upgrade Villa Park to ensure that it meets FIFA guidelines, in support of a UK and Ireland bid to host the World Cup in 2030.
The stadium hosted three games in the 1966 World Cup finals, four Euro 96 games and over its lifetime has been the venue for a total of 16 internationals.
It was the first English ground to host internationals across three different centuries and has seen a record 55 FA Cup semi-finals played there, plus a European Cup Winners' Cup Final.
The FA says there are no plans to host additional Euro 2020 games, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming the UK has made offers to UEFA.
The tournament is due to be hosted across 12 different countries, with both semi-finals and the final at Wembley.
Speaking to The Sun, Prime Minister Johnson said Britain is ready to take on extra games, citing the rollout of the vaccines as a big reason behind his confidence, adding that talks between ministers and UEFA continue as organisers try to find a solution due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For the time being, UEFA remains intent on hosting the tournament in the 12 cities originally named, which include Amsterdam, Baku, Dublin and Rome.
The FA says it remains focused on hosting the seven games originally allocated to Wembley and has "no other plans" in the making.
In a statement, the FA said: "UEFA is committed to holding UEFA EURO 2020 across 12 European cities, according to the schedule agreed last summer. There are no other plans being pursued.
"The FA's focus remains on delivering the seven games at Wembley inclusive of both semi-finals and the showpiece final and welcome all efforts being made by government to ensure as many fans can attend."
Each host city has until April 5 to confirm the number of fans allowed in each stadium, before a final decision is made by the UEFA executive committee.
England manager Gareth Southgate believes the country would be "well placed" to host this summer's tournament.
Asked what effect that hosting this summer's European Championship would have, Southgate told talkSPORT: "Obviously we have our group matches at Wembley anyway so we're hugely looking forward to that.
"We've got our fingers crossed that we keep progressing as we are and there could be some fans back in the stadium. That would be the first step.
"Then everything else is a bit up in the air, really. Of course at the moment we're being told the tournament will stay in its current format.
"You would imagine if there's an option for one country to host, we'll be well placed with a couple of other countries to be able to do that.
"But as a team we've got to remember that just hosting is not a great guarantee of success. There's only France, really, that have done that in European Championships, hosted and won.
"You don't win just because you're the host. We won't win just because our group matches are at Wembley. We've got to play well and we've got to be as prepared as we possibly can be."
Who has made it to Euro 2020 and how will the tournament work?
Coronavirus has put Euro 2020 back a year to 2021, but 24 sides will still play across 12 host cities in a festival of football.
The top two teams from each of the 10 groups qualified for Euro 2020 and the four remaining positions were settled in the play-offs, with Scotland beating Serbia in a penalty shootout to join England and Wales at the tournament.
The 16th UEFA European Championship runs from June 11 to July 11, 2021, and to celebrate the tournament's 60th birthday, 12 cities across the continent have been selected as hosts. The 12 cities and stadiums are:
Rome's Stadio Olimpico will host the opening match on June 11, while England's national stadium Wembley will stage both semi-finals and the final.