Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that serious consideration is being given to a joint bid by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup.

I think the 2012 Olympics demonstrated how well we can organise a global sporting event and apart from the memorable performances from the likes of Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis on the so-called Super Saturday there were incredible performances in cycling, boxing and in many other sports. It all brought the nation together in a way nothing else can. If, like me, you were lucky enough to be in the live audience it was brilliantly organised, and you could almost feel the sense of national unity and pride amongst those attending.

I am old enough to still remember the 1966 World Cup. I was 12 years old; everyone was glued to their television sets. The wonder goal by Bobby Charlton against Mexico, the behaviour of the Argentina side when Alf Ramsey strode on to the pitch to stop England players shaking hands at the end. The final at Wembley and Geoff Hurst’s hat trick including a disputed third England goal given by the linesman after the ball bounced down off the crossbar. Fans on the pitch when Hurst raced clear to score England’s fourth goal and those immortal words from BBC match commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme …there are people on the pitch they think it’s all over ….it is now! Great and so far, never to be repeated memories.

To have the chance to win a World Cup again on home soil would be a dream come true and it would be great event to attend. We definitely have the stadium infrastructure in the five countries.

As with every World Cup there will be a number of countries bidding to stage the event.

South American countries Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay have joined together for a joint bid. Their intention to jointly bid was made public in 2017. One of the key selling points of the unified South American bid is to bring the World Cup back to Uruguay on the 100th anniversary of the first tournament which was held there in 1930.While Argentina (1978), Uruguay (1930) and Chile (1962) have already hosted the tournament in years gone by, it would be the first time it would be held in Paraguay.

Spain and Portugal confirmed their intention to bid in 2020. Spain last hosted the tournament in 1982, while it has never been held in Portugal.

A second European joint bid is being made by Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia and that would be the first time any of these countries would host a World Cup.  Ecuador, Colombia and Peru remain a possible joint bidder. The final contender could be Morocco who are planning a bid after missing out in their bid to host the 2026 World Cup which went to a joint bid by the USA, Canada and Mexico.

The Government has pledged £2.8m to support the UK and Ireland bid and we should muster all our key assets and sporting and other personalities to produce an unbeatable bid. I was privileged to play a small part in the Qatar World Cup bid and the delivery of a programme called Education at Your Feet for that 2022 bid at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and I subsequently met Sheikh Tamim in London who is now the Emir of Qatar and I believe Qatar will deliver a fantastic occasion and it is certainly my plan to be there.

Now is time to bring the World Cup back home so let’s go for it!

Peter Varney – Chairman, Integral Sports Management

Image – Imago Images

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