UK, Ireland urged to drop ‘vanity project’ of World Cup for Euro bid


London (AFP) – The UK and Ireland could ditch a bid for the 2030 World Cup to focus on the “achievable” target of hosting Euro 2028, according to senior Conservative MP.

Julian Knight, chairman of Britain’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, supported a report in The Times on Wednesday that the five football associations involved could be persuaded to turn their attention to the European Championship given the higher chance of a successful bid.

England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup ended in an embarrassing elimination at the first round of voting.

“Everyone knows that the furore over a World Cup bid is a giant, expensive vanity project,” Knight told the Press Association.

“It’s sad as we are ideally suited to hosting a tournament, but we have huge reputation problems in the international game.

“So it’s best to aim our sights at something achievable, drop the ‘we are the home of football’ malarkey, reform our domestic game and focus on winning and delivering a really great Euros.”

England and Scotland hosted 12 games of Euro 2020, which took place across 11 countries in June and July.

Fan violence marred the final, won by Italy, as thousands of England fans stormed the gates of Wembley to try see the Three Lions’ first major tournament final in 55 years.

However, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin played down fears that the disorder would affect England’s chances of hosting major events in the future.

UEFA announced last month that London will host the first edition of a new intercontinental final between the champions of Europe and South America when Italy face Argentina on June 1.

Germany will host the next edition of the Euro in 2024 with 24 teams competing.

Bids for Euro 2028 have to be submitted by March 23 with the tournament awarded by September 2023.

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