London (AFP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed a potential joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup.
The formal bidding process to stage the tournament will be launched next year by FIFA, world football’s governing body.
A feasibility study is underway as the football associations in the UK and Ireland look into options for a joint bid.
In an interview with The Sun, Johnson said: “We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place.
“It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country.”
The English Football Association said on Twitter that it welcomed “the Government’s pledge of £2.8 million towards a potential bid” for the 2030 World Cup.
A joint statement released by the FA and the football associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland on Monday read: “The football associations and Government partners of the UK and Ireland are delighted that the UK Government has committed to support a prospective five-association bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
“We will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022.
“Staging a FIFA World Cup would provide an incredible opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for our nations.
“If a decision is made to bid for the event, we look forward to presenting our hosting proposals to FIFA and the wider global football community.”
England have not hosted the World Cup since winning the tournament for the only time in 1966.
The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar, while the 2026 tournament is to be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
London, Glasgow and Dublin are among the 12 host cities for the delayed 2020 European Championship, which are scheduled to take place later this year.