‘We’re keen to bring football home’: Boris Johnson targets a trophy double
PM supports 2030 World Cup bid and offers to host all Euro matches this summer
Boris Johnson says the UK is ready to “bring football home” with an offer to host the sport’s two biggest international men’s tournaments.
The prime minister has put forward Britain’s stadiums for all of this summer’s Uefa European Championship matches - and also thrown his support behind a bid for the 2030 Fifa World Cup.
Postponed from last year, Euro 2020 is due to take place from 11 June to 11 July in 12 host cities across the continent. As per the current schedule, Wembley Stadium will host England’s three group games, both semi-finals and the final. While three group games and a round of 16 fixture will be played at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
Concerns have been raised over the practicalities of staging the rescheduled competition across 12 host nations, but should European football’s governing body Uefa decide to change the format, then the UK is ready to step in.
Johnson is “up for the cup”, says The Sun, and in an exclusive interview with the paper he said: “We are hosting the Euros. We are hosting the semis and the final. If there’s, you know, if they want any other matches that they want hosted, we’re certainly on for that but at the moment that’s where we are with Uefa.”
‘It’s the right time’
The government is also backing a UK and Ireland bid to host the World Cup in 2030. And in tomorrow’s spring budget Chancellor Rishi Sunak will earmark £2.8m to promote the official pitch to Fifa.
“We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030,” the PM said. “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 football associations of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland have welcomed the UK government’s pledge to kick-start a potential 2030 bid.
“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,” a joint statement said.
“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.”
‘Bonanza’ decade of football
Sunak’s budget speech will also include £25m in new funding from the Treasury to help the growth of grassroots football. Enough for 700 new pitches, the funding will be part of the government’s plan to get Britain “match fit for the future”.
Johnson added: “One of the things we want to do is we want to bounce back fitter. We want to bounce back better, but also we want to do much more to encourage sport in this country post pandemic.”
With England set to host the Women’s European Championship in 2022 - and potentially the Euros this year and the World Cup in 2030 - fans could enjoy a “bonanza decade of footy”.
As the vaccination programme ramps up and lockdown restrictions ease, a summer of football this year “would showcase Britain as the perfect venue for the World Cup in nine years’ time”, says The Sun. “Johnson hopes the image of plucky Brexit Britain, fresh from its vaccine success, hosting the European tournament this summer would be a great advert for the UK’s 2030 bid.”