Labour would back England bid for 2030 World Cup, says Tom Watson

Deputy leader says party would support bid to celebrate centenary of international football tournament

Elizabeth Arnold
Monday 10 September 2018 12:28
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Tom Watson says Labour government would work to secure England as World Cup 2030 hosts

Labour would back an England-led bid to host the World Cup in 2030, the party's deputy leader has said.

Tom Watson said Labour would support putting a bid together to celebrate the centenary of the football tournament.

Speaking on Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Mr Watson said: "I've been driving my kids crazy because I am old enough to remember Italia 90 when we got through to the semi-finals and the country was alive.

"After a very difficult year, seeing the country united these last few weeks has been fantastic - and it seems to me you look at Premier League football, which is the best in the world, you look at our lower league football - which is really well run, the Football Foundation has made investments in grassroots football.

"It's the national game, it can bring the country together, it can give us hope.”

England’s surprise run to the semi-final of this year’s tournament gripped the nation this summer, which was the national team's joint-second best result ever at a World Cup. An average audience of 24.3 million people watched England's defeat to Croatia on Wednesday.

"We were disappointed in 2018 when we did the World Cup bid, it seems to me that we should be bidding for the World Cup 2030,” added Mr Watson.

The FA put forward unsuccessful World Cup bids for 2006 and 2018, but there have been rumours of a potential bid for the 2030 tournament. In June 2017, UEFA said it would support a collective bid by the countries of the UK or a single bid from England.

Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which hosted the first World Cup in 1930, have already confirmed a joint three-way bid for the centenary of the tournament.

"[It's] a few years off and we don't know who's going to be in government in a few years' time. If we're in government, I hope it's one of the first things a Labour government does, which is work with our FA to try and put a World Cup bid together," said Mr Watson.

"If the Conservatives are still in government, then we'd like to work with them to make sure that a bid is successful."

When asked about the final between Croatia and France today, Mr Watson said that he "just wanted England to win", adding: "I'm not that bothered about the final to be honest with you."

He later tweeted: "I have today announced Labour's support for an England-led bid for the 2030 World Cup. Where better to celebrate the centenary of the World Cup than in the nation where football was born."

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