‘This is the home of football’: British and Irish bid for 2030 World Cup backed by the government despite possible competition from China
- Government committed to backing a British and Irish bid for 2030 World Cup
- Sports minister Nigel Adams says government ready to rival potential China bid
- Adams says the government has had ‘two or three’ meetings with the FA
The government are ‘committed’ to backing a British and Irish bid for the 2030 World Cup – even if they have to go up against China.
Fifa are considering changing their rotation rules to allow an Asian nation to stage the tournament again in 2030, just eight years after Qatar. And FA insiders fear a rival Chinese bid would scupper their chances of winning the right to host the World Cup for the first time since 1966.
But asked if they are prepared to challenge China, the government’s sports minister Nigel Adams told Sportsmail: ‘Absolutely. This is the home of football. Of course China is a big market, a future market for football.
The government are committed to backing a British and Irish bid for 2030 World Cup
‘I understand why China would be interested. But I would have thought that if China wants to bid, they would want to have a good chance of winning the tournament – and I see little evidence of that currently.’
Mr Adams’ last comment hints at a feeling China may prefer to bid for the 2034 World Cup when their national team will have more chance of making an impact on the pitch, with a player development scheme recently launched in the country.
The FA will have the final say on any British and Irish bid but it would need the support of the government.
Mr Adams said: ‘We have had two or three meetings with the FA and we are very much committed to doing it. The prime minister is committed to it. I think a UK and Ireland bid is an incredibly attractive proposition.
‘We have the stadia, the infrastructure and the ability to put on a fantastic World Cup and it’s about time.
Sports minister Nigel Adams says that the government are ready to rival potential China bid
‘There are a lot of politics involved with Fifa and trying to work out what other countries’ intentions are. But if we were the chosen European bid, I think we would have a very strong case for 2030.’
There have been growing calls for the FA and government to make the north of England central to any bid, with some MPs even suggesting the final of a tournament staged here should not be at Wembley.
But Mr Adams added: ‘We have some fantastic stadia in the north of England and everything is possible, but the reality is we have a national stadium at Wembley. And the Scottish FA might have something to say, as well as the Irish.
‘But we are getting way ahead of ourselves thinking about where the final would be. I’m excited to be able to work on the possibility of landing it – and not only do…