Who Will Host the 2030 FIFA World Cup?
The UK and Ireland’s aspirations of co-hosting the 2030 World Cup have been dented since the disgraceful scenes of violence that marred the Euro 2020 final.
The FAs of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are steadily working on plans to bid for the World Cup in nine years’ time – which would feature an expanded competition of 48 teams.
Hopes at Westminster that England would host the FIFA competition on its own were scuppered in 2010 and world football’s governing body, these days, is much more receptive to joint bids that help host nations share costs.
Yet the chances of a UK and Ireland competition in 2030 have worsened in recent weeks following the scenes at the Euro 2020 final.
Wembley hosted the semi-finals and final of this summer’s European Championships in what was meant to be the crowning glory of a magnificent competition. However, thousands of fans broke into the ground and there were clashes with security staff during the final, while the semi-final saw the FA fined for a supporter flashing a laser light in Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s eyes during a penalty in extra-time.
2030 World Cup Odds
The actions of the English fans have certainly not aided the FA’s aspirations of bringing the World Cup back to Wembley.
According to football betting odds from UK bookmakers, the UK and Ireland are now 7/1 to host the 2030 World Cup. Compare that to the eve of the first semi-final in July, where their odds were 23/10.
That signifies a serious drop in the likelihood of the UK and Ireland successfully winning the World Cup bid process from 30% to 12.5%.
Meanwhile, Uruguay have emerged as a more viable candidate than the UK and Ireland joint bid, although they are expected to join forces with Argentina and perhaps a number of other South American countries to secure FIFA’s blessing.
Morocco remain the favourites with top football betting sites to be granted hosting rights, having failed in multiple bids to secure world football’s biggest tournament in the past.
How a UK and Ireland World Cup Would Work
Were the UK and Ireland to join forces in a bid to bring the World Cup to these shores then there would be no shortage of stadiums in which to host the event.
The 2026 World Cup in Mexico, America and Canada will also feature 48 teams and be spread across 16 cities – and there is no doubt that the UK and Ireland have the facilities to cater for an event of similar scale. Wembley would be expected to host the final with its 90,000 capacity and scores of VIP and corporate facilities, while London’s Olympic Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Twickenham all boast capacities of over 62,000.
Murrayfield (67,000) and Hampden (51,000) could be venues in Scotland, while Wales’ Principality Stadium (74,500) sits in the heart of Cardiff.
Plans to transform the GAA's Casement Park into a 34,500-seater venue in Belfast are underway, while Dublin’s Aviva Stadium was meant to host Euro 2020 fixtures before coronavirus interrupted those plans.
When England hosted the 1996 European Championship, only three grounds had a capacity of over 41,000. Today, there are 10 club stadiums alone that surpass that figure, while Everton and Leeds United are both seeking to either build a new home or expand their current capacities.
However, the scenes broadcast around the world during the Euro 2020 final could deter some FIFA members from voting for the UK and Ireland. Part of Wembley’s draw had always been that the venue is a world-class stadium that offers safety and security guarantees in the face of terrorism and crowd control, while offering an excellent fan experience.
But thousands of unticketed supporters breaking into the ground for the Euros final, and clashes with security staff both inside and outside the stadium, certainly didn't act as a great advertisement for World Cup football on these shores.
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