Belfast Telegraph

FAI agree to join in with possible shared UK bid for 2030 World Cup

 

By Daniel McDonnell

The FAI last night confirmed that it is open to being part of a bid for the 2030 World Cup.

Football chiefs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have already been in talks about launching an ambitious bid for the tournament.

And the FAI were asked to take part in discussions about expanding the plan to include the Republic of Ireland.

A statement from Abbotstown said that "positive discussions" had culminated with agreement to move to the next phase.

"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," read the brief missive.

The expansion of the competition to 48 teams from 2026 has opened up the possibility of bigger bids and Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin - an ally of FAI chief John Delaney - had spoken favourably about the idea of a bid from the region.

The United States, Canada and Mexico are the three co-hosts for 2026 and will all qualify automatically but it's thought highly unlikely that Fifa would give places to five countries.

Another complication is the absence of a stadium to meet the 40,000 capacity criteria in Northern Ireland with a redeveloped Casement Park the only option.

By contrast, the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park would need only minimal alterations to conform to the standard and Dublin will have major tournament experience after Euro 2020.

There is precedent for having two stadiums in the one city so an approach to the GAA is expected to be a part of the feasibility study.

Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have announced their plans to jointly bid for 2030, while Tunisia would be open to the idea of a North African bid along with Algeria and Morocco.

Belfast Telegraph

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