The FAI has confirmed it is joining forces with the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FA’s to explore the feasibility of bidding to stage the World Cup in 2030.
We raised the genuine prospect of a bid here on Sport for Business earlier this month and now the dream is becoming a little bit closer to reality.
A statement released last night said that “Following recent positive discussions amongst all parties it has been agreed that the Football Association of Ireland will join the English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish FAs in conducting a feasibility review into a potential joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.”
Simple words but an important formal step on the road to a bid.
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 after Morocco’s runner-up bid for 2026 and there will be pressure soon from China to host the World Cup in the same way as it has or will have hosted the Olympic, Paralympic and Winter Olympic Games.
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.
England would have the capacity to host on its own, as would Germany, France and possibly Spain or Italy but the move at this level is towards shared hosting.
If the United States is willing to co-host then the model is already in the minds of football administrators around the world.
There are suggested bids likely to emerge from a shared bid from Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, and another from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Given that Asia and North America will have hosted the next two editions neither of those areas will come into consideration for waht will be the Centennial World Cup.
If the Olympic decision to stage their Centennial back in Athens for historic reasons is heeded then perhaps Uruguay, which staged the first World Cup back in 2030 will be in pole position but Ireland is at the table and who could ever have dreamed that might be the case.
Ireland will stage the Open Championship next year, putting the island onto a global stage for sporting events.
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?
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