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Why the FA is set to DITCH plans to host the 2030 World Cup

1 month ago 15

We are unlikely to know whether the UK and Ireland press ahead with a joint bid to host World Cup 2030 until April at the earliest.

Many, however, are convinced they already know the answer: no. Why?

Well, why would you enter a race you have no chance of winning? The carrot of securing up to £550million Government investment into grassroots football as part of plans to back a joint UK and Ireland gambit is good a reason as any to explore the merits of a bid, even if there is a reluctance to jump in two footed right now.

The FA are unlikely to make their decision on hosting the for 2030 World Cup until April 

Indeed, with Whitehall committed to spending £2.8million in public money to conduct a feasibility study into any potential bid, the home nation Football Associations are correct to exhaust all avenues.

We won’t conclusively know whether UK and Ireland confirm their position as host contenders until that study is completed during the second quarter of 2022.

Yet, the fact certain figures within English football are even questioning the necessity of the near £3million investigation indicates the expected direction of travel.

In their eyes any UK and Ireland bid would be doomed to failure.

The feasibility study will focus on six areas: budgeting for the tournament and cost apportionment, stadia across the five countries in relation to FIFA standards, security, governance, and the socio-economic benefits of holding a major competition.

A humiliating response to England's bid for 2018 World Cup has left a poor appetite this time

Lastly, and arguably most pertinent of all, the study will focus on ‘winnability’ - whether there is actually a realistic chance of emerging victorious.

If it is decided there is a chance, then there is a strong will at the FA to proceed; understandable with £550million investment at stake.

That, however, is a very big ‘if'. England accumulated two votes when they stood as candidates to host World Cup 2018 and were eliminated in the first round ballot.

It was a humiliating ordeal for all involved; one no-one connected with British football wants to endure again.

And sources claim sentiment towards, certainly English football, has not improved in that 11 year period - certainly not enough to provide a realistic chance of winning.

Gareth Southgate's men already enjoyed a handful of games on home soil at Euro 2020 

Why? A number reasons; politics at the heart of much of it.

Post-Brexit attitudes towards the UK is emerging as a factor. ‘Why would other European nations vote for us when we’ve isolated ourselves away from them?,’ said one well-place source.

The strong economic stability of English football, or perhaps more accurately, the instability of other global leagues is another consideration.

With English football’s TV rights deals among the most lucrative broadcasting contracts on the planet, it is clear other nations require the social and economical benefits of hosting a World Cup more than the UK and Ireland.

However, assertions the trouble that ruined the Euro 2020 final struck a fatal blow to a joint UK bid are said to be an exaggeration.

The disgraceful scenes of public drug-taking and urinating won’t have helped but UEFA have been clear that the carnage at Wembley on July 11 will not be a determining factor.

The behaviour of fans at Euro 2020 final at Wembley could affect sentiment towards the bid

Nevertheless, the early voting strength from Europe appears to rest in a potential joint bid from Spain and Portugal.

But it has been pointed out to Sportsmail that Spain’s involvement in the European Super League (ESL) breakaway attempt earlier this year could work in the UK and Ireland’s favour if it comes to a point where UEFA’s members must choose which bid to back ahead of the final FIFA vote.

Of course, the Premier League’s elite hardly covered themselves in glory during the ESL coup - but as this newspaper revealed in April, UEFA wrote to the English FA thanking them for helping bring down the breakaway attempt.

It is likely, however, that UEFA would prefer one stand alone European bid; president Aleksander Ceferin wary of the prospect of seven affiliate members going head-to-head.

Spain and Portugal's joint bid is the favourite to be put forward on behalf of Europe

Could the UK and Ireland be persuaded to step away if they received encouragement to bid for Euro 2028? Maybe, but sources claimed yesterday that their next best opportunity of hosting a major tournament would be the European Championships in 2032.

But it seems European football’s governing body would prefer the UK and Ireland and Spain and Portugal to sort it amongst themselves.

Home nation FAs will hold talks with UEFA delegates over the coming weeks to see exactly how the land lies. As it stands, the smart money appears to on UK and Ireland walking away.

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