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England's quest to host the 2030 World Cup now stronger than ever

 

By Matt Slater

The prospect of England hosting the 2030 World Cup has taken a significant step forward with confirmation the Football Association's board has approved a feasibility study into becoming Europe's only bid for the tournament.

England won the only World Cup it has ever hosted in 1966 but lost with bids for the 2006 and 2018 competitions.

That most recent defeat was an embarrassing and expensive affair, with England going out in the first round of voting, but the FA has made little secret of its interest in trying again, particularly as it now has more faith in Fifa's selection process.

With the World Cup growing from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, when the 80-game tournament will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States, Fifa has hinted it believes the event may be too big for one country.

This has led to speculation that any bid from the United Kingdom will actually be an English-led joint bid with one, two or all three of the other home nations, and both the Prime Minister Theresa May and the opposition Labour Party gave their support for this idea last month.

The FA has not confirmed or denied if it is considering a joint bid with any combination of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but it has now formally admitted it is studying options.

In a statement, FA chairman Greg Clarke used the term "English" FA as there is a conscious effort at football's oldest national governing body to be humbler on the world stage, where every other FA's name contains a reference to its nationality.

Belfast Telegraph

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