FA weighing up England 2030 World Cup bid

While the English FA studies the feasibility of a bid to host the 2030 World Cup, it is also optimistic that manager Gareth Southgate, who with captain Harry Kane led England to fourth place in Russia 2018, will extend his contract beyond 2020.
While the English FA studies the feasibility of a bid to host the 2030 World Cup, it is also optimistic that manager Gareth Southgate, who with captain Harry Kane led England to fourth place in Russia 2018, will extend his contract beyond 2020.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • The Football Association (FA) is considering putting England forward as a potential host for the 2030 World Cup, confirming on Wednesday it has approved a feasibility study into becoming Europe's only bid.

England, the home of the globally dominant Premier League, won the only World Cup the nation has ever hosted in 1966 - but lost out in the race to host the 2006 and 2018 tournaments.

"Last month, the English FA board agreed to conduct feasibility work into the possibility of putting itself forward to be Uefa's potential candidate to host the 2030 Fifa World Cup," FA chairman Greg Clarke said in a statement.

"This work will take place during the new season and no decision will be made until 2019."

England went out in the first round of voting for the 2018 edition recently held in Russia, but the FA has made little secret of its interest in trying again.

With the World Cup growing from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, when the 80-game tournament will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States, world governing body Fifa has hinted that the event may be too big for one country.

This has led to speculation that any bid from the United Kingdom will actually be an English-led joint bid.

The FA has not confirmed or denied if it is considering a joint bid with any combination of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The 2030 battle looks set to be fought out between a Moroccan-led North African bid, a joint bid from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and whoever emerges from Europe.

The South American bid looks strong as 2030 will be the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup in Uruguay and South America will claim it is its turn.

Meanwhile, the FA is also confident of persuading Gareth Southgate to extend his contract as England manager beyond 2020 after he unexpectedly led the team to a World Cup semi-final in Russia.

Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, is aware the governing body cannot compete with the financial lure of Premier League management but believes Southgate shares his view that there is "unfinished business" with the national team.

Southgate's deal ends in 2020 and, providing England qualify for the European Championship that summer, it is understood the FA would be keen to extend it until at least the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"He fits the definition of the modern manager we want. He gets that it's not just picking the team but all the aspects behind it and has benefited from a world-class support team," Glenn said.

"We'd like him to stay beyond 2020 and I think he would like that too but we haven't spoken about it in any depth because that would be a contract discussion and he's on holiday now so we'll talk about that when he gets back.

"It's our job to make it competitive to make sure him and all of our people are competitively rewarded."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2018, with the headline 'FA weighing up England 2030 World Cup bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe