Who could ever have imagined that Ireland could be part of a bid to host the FIFA World Cup? Well, now the prospect is becoming a little bit more real.
Reports yesterday suggested that the English FA is conducting a feasibility study on how it could bid to host the biggest sports event in the world and the option of a joint bid with Wales, Scotland and the island of Ireland is one of the options being considered.
In December Dublin will host the draw for the 2020 UEFA European Championships. Next year we will host the U19 Championships and in 2020 we will stage four games in the main event at the Aviva Stadium.
The quality of our bid to win that was hailed at the time as top of the class and there is no doubt that the country is capable of staging parts of even the biggest events.
The 2026 World Cup was awarded earlier this year to a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico. The 2022 version will be staged in December in the Middle East Emirate of Qatar.
In 2030 there will be pressure to bring the tournament to Africa or China but Europe will want to present a strong case and with the tournament extended by then to host 48 teams, the sheer size and scale would demand imaginative thinking.
If the United States is willing to co-host then the model is already in the minds of football administrators around the world.
Ireland will stage the Open Championship next year, putting the island onto a global stage for sporting events.
Ten years ago we could only have had dreamt, and in fevered fashion at that, of being in such a position.
The reality now though is that we are confident, we have facilities, our infrastructure is strong and our willingness is proven.
The Government’s ten year National Sports Policy will have been renewed by the time 2030 rolls around. Could a major part of that be how to plan for the impact and the lasting benefit of hosting Brazil, France or Argentina in the FIFA World Cup?