Decision time for joint UK-Ireland World Cup bid

A decision is imminent on whether the nations of Britain and Ireland will drop their joint 2030 World Cup bid in favor of tilting when hosting Euro 2028.

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland had commissioned a feasibility study for the global showpiece, but political machinations in Fifa’s halls of power convinced them to redirect their energies elsewhere.

As revealed by Irish Examiner Last October, UEFA favored a bid by the Iberian alliance of Spain and Portugal for the World Cup, but they face major competition from the South American nomination of Uruguay-Argentina-Chile -Paraguay as well as China.

As a consolation prize and with the closing of “intentions to bid” on March 23, the FAI and its partners will aim to host the Euro.

Covid-19 restrictions on attendance saw Ireland become the only one of 12 countries to lose accommodation rights for last summer’s showpiece.

As part of the new bid for the 24-team tournament six years from now, the Aviva Stadium in Dublin will host one of six groups, as well as at least one, possibly two knockout matches. It is estimated that the coffers of the Treasury will be inflated by 150 million euros by being part of the spectacle.

Maximizing revenue will depend on Ireland’s participation, which is seen as not a given if the five-nation quest is successful.

UEFA are reluctant to hand over automatic tickets to several nations, especially as Northern Ireland can only operate as a training base due to Windsor Park’s 18,500 capacity well below the current minimum capacity of UEFA for stadiums of 30,000.

Germany has won exclusive hosting rights for the next Euros, in the summer of 2024, and the tender filed by the FAI and its partners for the sequel is unlikely to be the only proposal.