The chairman of the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said the UK and Ireland should focus on the “achievable” goal of hosting Euro 2028 and abandon their 2030 World Cup “vanity project”.
The Hay Times reported on Wednesday that the five federations were set to scrap their plans to bid for the Centennial World Cup and focus on Euro 2028 instead.
Association leaders have been told that a World Cup bid will be less likely to succeed because of a political settlement at FIFA, and a Euro bid will be a better bet.
DCMS committee chairman Julian Knight welcomed the reports, although he felt it was England’s international reputation that was most likely to eliminate any chances of success.
“Everyone knows the uproar over the World Cup bid is a huge, expensive vanity project,” he told PA news agency.
“It is sad because we are ideally suited to host a tournament, but we have a big reputation problem in the international game.
“So it’s best we set our sights on achieving something, ‘we are the house of football’, drop the Malarkey, improve our home game and focus on winning and giving a really great Euro. “
Knight described the idea of a World Cup bid as “absolutely rubbish” during a committee hearing involving Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston in November last year, as bids to host the 2006 and 2018 World Cups had completely failed.
At the time, Huddleston said he did not agree with Knight, debating FIFA administration and the bidding process – now it was very different than at the time of those previous bids.
Huddleston also said at the time that he did not feel disordered at Wembley on the day of the Euro 2020 final last July, leading to a “kibosh” over the possibility of the UK and Ireland hosting another major tournament in the near future .
The Football Association and Wembley still clearly have faith in UEFA, which has chosen to stage a ‘finalissima’ match between European champions Italy and Copa America winners Argentina at the London venue in June. England is also hosting the Women’s Euro this summer.
Relations between UEFA and FIFA have become particularly tense in recent months, particularly over proposals to start the biennial World Cup. This would make it difficult for anyone within UEFA to say with any degree of certainty to any of its member associations that the European bid for 2030 was likely to be successful.
A firm decision on which tournament to go for will soon have to be taken by those involved in the 2030 Feasibility Study Group.
UEFA announced last year that parties interested in hosting Euro 2028 were required to confirm that interest by 23 March, with bidders to be announced on 5 April.
ICYMI: The bidding process for UEFA Euro 2028 has been confirmed.
— UEFA (@UEFA) 13 October 2021
Also stating that bids are being selected from more than two host associations, automatic qualification cannot be guaranteed for all federations. However, it is understood that there is a strong possibility of increasing those finals from 24 to 32 which may open more automatic slots.
In FIFA’s proposals, 2028 is marked as the first year in the new biennial World Cup cycle.
FIFA will ratify bidding rules for the 2030 final in the first half of this year, and it has previously said a decision on who will host the tournament will be taken at the 2024 Congress.
A South American bid for the final would be a sentimental attraction since Uruguay hosted the inaugural tournament in 1930.