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UK and Ireland drop joint 2030 World Cup to launch Euro 2028 bid

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland hope to stage 2028 tournament

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Monday 07 February 2022 11:05 GMT
The European Championship trophy
The European Championship trophy (Getty Images)

The English Football Association has confirmed it will abandon attempts to stage the 2030 World Cup and instead bid to host Euro 2028 alongside the other home nations and the Republic of Ireland.

The associations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Republic have been encouraged to launch a Euros bid after carrying out a feasibility study into co-hosting the tournament.

The five nations had intended to bid for the 2030 World Cup together, though faced several obstacles to success.

Spain and Portugal will also submit a joint-bid for that tournament, with Uefa only expected to back one European candidate, while a South American bid is aiming to tie in with the centenary of the first World Cup held in Uruguay.

An FA statement read: "On balance, the five associations have decided to focus solely on an official bid to host Uefa Euro 2028, and have agreed not to bid for the 2030 Fifa World Cup.

"Hosting a Uefa Euro offers a similar return on investment, with the European tournament carrying a far lower delivery cost and the potential of the benefits being realised sooner.

"It would be an honour and a privilege to collectively host Uefa Euro 2028 and to welcome all of Europe.

"It would also be a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the true impact of hosting a world-class football tournament by driving positive change and leaving a lasting legacy across our communities.

"We believe the UK and the Republic of Ireland can offer Uefa and European football something special in 2028 – a compact and unique five-way hosting collaboration that will provide a great experience for the teams and the fans."

The closing date for applications to host Euro 2028 is 23 March. The five-nation bid could face competition from Turkey, who have failed with five successive bids to host the European Championship.

The proposed 2030 World Cup bid was backed by the UK government, featuring in the Conservative party’s 2019 general election manifesto alongside a commitment to invest £550m of funding into the sport.

The UK government is yet to explicitly len their backing the new 2028 bid, though senior figures at the five associations expect their support.

The 2028 tournament could be the first European Championship to be expanded from 24 to 32 teams, though it is yet to be confirmed whether all five nations would be given automatic qualification spots if successful.

Upon announcing the bidding process in October, Uefa said that a maximum of two joint host nations would qualify automatically, though other automatic spots would be subject to a decision by the governing body.

The tournament would also clash with the first of Fifa’s proposed biennial World Cups. Uefa has expressed its opposition to Fifa’s plans, with president Aleksandar Ceferin suggesting that European nations could boycott a tournament played every two years.

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