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UK and Ireland’s joint bid for the 2030 World Cup seems dead in the water

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EXCLUSIVE: The joint bid for the 2030 World Cup for the UK and Ireland seems dead in the water as UEFA looks for Spain and Portugal to be Europe’s contenders…

  • UEFA to encourage UK and Ireland to focus on Euro 2028 instead
  • Sources say a bid between Spain and Portugal has the only ‘realistic chance’ of winning
  • There is a belief that the tender has little chance of gaining traction and votes
  • Part of the reason why will likely be a reaction to Euro 2020’s final chaos

The United Kingdom’s joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with the Republic of Ireland will be rejected by UEFA.

European football’s governing body will try to encourage the UK and Ireland to focus instead on Euro 2028, which UEFA will support if the home countries agree to give up the World Cup.

Sources in the Irish government and UEFA have revealed that a bid between Spain and Portugal on behalf of Europe has the ‘only realistic chance of winning at FIFA’.

UK’s joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with the Republic of Ireland will be rejected by UEFA

UEFA would instead fully support both countries to focus on Euro 2028 if they stop now

UEFA would instead fully support both countries to focus on Euro 2028 if they stop now

The plan to hold Euro 2028 in the UK and Ireland has major benefits for Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is unknown, however, what England’s reaction would be, as it is the leading nation in the World Cup bidding process and architects plan to bring the tournament to these islands 64 years after the FA last hosted it.

It is likely that the FA would not see another European Championship co-hosted by England having anything like the prestige of a World Cup, especially given the support it has already received from the likes of Boris Johnson.

But UEFA hopes by now providing assurances to the countries vying for the World Cup nomination that they will avoid a lengthy and expensive process that will waste precious time and resources.

Sources say the Spain-Portugal bid on behalf of Europe has 'the only realistic chance' to host

Sources say the Spain-Portugal bid on behalf of Europe has ‘the only realistic chance’ to host

It is not known when UEFA or the home countries will confirm the Spain-Portugal plan, with talks at an early stage.

The UK and Irish bids are undergoing a feasibility study with stakeholder partners, including the governments of both countries.

In recent days, however, the Irish Ministry of Sport got word that ‘the UK and Ireland bid was effectively over before it started’, with Spain and Portugal enjoying popular support at UEFA headquarters.

“It’s accepted that this isn’t going to happen and the sooner that message is delivered the better,” an insider said.

Currently, the Irish and UK bids are undergoing a feasibility study, but they are on the brink of losing

Currently, the Irish and UK bids are undergoing a feasibility study, but they are on the brink of losing

“I’m not sure if it was ever so realistic when Spain and Portugal expressed their intent to host the tournament, and for many reasons, not least because of the geographic location and easy access between the two countries, this more logical.’

UEFA and the UK and Irish national associations are not expected to accept that the bidding process is over, as any decision to host proposals must be ratified by UEFA’s Executive Committee and its 55 member federations.

A key reason for UEFA asking the home countries to withdraw is that many in the governing body do not believe the tender has any chance of getting enough votes across Europe.

That’s partly due to the appalling behavior during the Euro 2020 final, when thousands of drunken fans burst into Wembley and steal seats from ticket-paying supporters in horrific scenes that were blasted around the world.

The horrific scenes at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley left football figures disgusted

The horrific scenes at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley left football figures disgusted

Thousands had flocked to the venue before drunken supporters broke in and stole chairs

Thousands had flocked to the venue before drunken supporters broke in and stole chairs

A UEFA insider explained: ‘The image of Football’s Coming Home was terrifying, and one that has sent shockwaves not only through UEFA, which was enraged by what they saw, but also the global football nations.

“You can’t in your wildest dreams expect a country to vote for an England-led bid after the world’s second-biggest international match has fallen into chaos.

“This is the view of people at UEFA and I can assure you that the view will become even more entrenched in FIFA.”

The Irish Football Association said on Friday: “We remain committed to the ongoing feasibility study of a potential bid for the 2030 World Cup, together with our fellow associations in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.”

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