The Times of London is headlining this morning that a joint bid between the FAI, and the Football Associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will go ahead for the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2030.
The FA made a presentation to the leadership of the other Associations, at which outgoing Interim General Manager Noel Mooney represented the FAI, in Bucharest ahead of the Euro 2020 draw on Saturday.
Mooney is quoted in the article as saying that “The feasibility study is positive and there’s a sense that the right thing to do is go forward. This bid is out on the front foot and very well led by the guys from the English FA who gave a very strong presentation.”
“It’s a chance to get a really credible bid and hopefully win it. I’d be very surprised if there’s not a very credible bid from Great Britain and Ireland.”
A decision on where the tournament will be staged that year has been put back to 2024 which allows more time for the bid to take shape than would otherwise have been the case.
The 2022 World Cup will be staged in Qatar, with the final taking place the week before Christmas. The 2026 Edition will then be shared between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
An expected South American bid for 2030 is expected to be rejected on the basis of rotation across geographic areas and a return to Europe is most likely for 2030 with a bid from Britain and Ireland seen as a leading candidate.
Much can happen in a political context by the time the next stage of Government planning needs to come into focus. Brexit will be the most likely major change in a global context and a restoration of faith and relationships between the FAI and the Irish government will also benefit from additional time.
A successful bid is likely to involve games being staged at the Aviva Stadium but also at Croke Park. The tournament will expand to 48 teams and 80 matches in 2026 and that is the likely number again in 2030.
In happier times in September 2018, the Irish Government expressed its support for the principle of a joint bid.
“While it is very early days the prospect of hosting matches here during 2030 FIFA World Cup is very exciting,” said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, quoted on Sport for Business at the time.
“We are happy to play our part in the feasibility study and fully examine the potential of being part of a bid.”
Junior Minister Brendan Griffin added his weight as well saying “Being part of a British-Irish bid would be great for sporting and political co-operation on these islands and hosting the 2030 World Cup would be a once in a lifetime experience. We are currently preparing to host EURO 2020, which, combined with the RWC 2023 bid, would be very valuable experience in any potential bid.”
There is a long way to go but the weekend activity in Romania means that the bid is still very much a live prospect.