The United Kingdom has officially announced its intention to host the Women’s World Cup. However, the possibility of hosting the men’s tournament won’t be considered for another 20 years. Efforts to host the event in 2006 and 2018 were unsuccessful, therefore the country hasn’t hosted the event since 1966.

UK Sport has unveiled a comprehensive list of seventy “aspirational” goal events. The goal list spans 2024–2040 and includes 70 events, including 18 world championships, in 32 different sports. Inclusion on the list is just the start of the many processes before officials decide on a bid. However, it does represent progress.

Some other major sporting events fall within this category. For example, the Tour de France, Solheim Cup, men’s Rugby World Cup, athletics World Championships and Ryder Cup. The Men’s World Cup is conspicuously absent from this list. Nevertheless, the women’s tournament is expected to pull a surprising trick.

What do UK Sport have planned for Women’s World Cup?

Speaking on behalf of UK Sport, Simon Morton said the Women’s World Cup is the largest athletic event that the nation has never hosted before. Eventually in the 2030s, the United Kingdom would want to play host to the tournament.

Nevertheless, if UK Sport aspires to host it in 2035, it could encounter opposition from Saudi Arabia. “The aspiration is to host the women’s football World Cup, at some point in the 2030s”, he told The Times.

“We have to respect the fact that there are other countries interested in hosting them. And so, the political dynamics across international federations in terms of where those events might go is something that’s outside of our control. So, that’s why you see a little bit of an open-ended position.

“There is definitely an aspiration to host the Women’s World Cup in the 2030s. We need to see where FIFA will go with that tournament. There’s obviously a decision that they’ll make in May with regards to the 2027 event.”

No stated desire to host men’s competition

Despite their distaste for the idea of hosting a World Cup, the United Kingdom will be home to the 2028 European Championship. Venues for the event will be located in several stadiums around England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“There isn’t a stated aspiration to host the men’s World Cup in a specific year from our perspective, but as this program evolves and moves in the next three-four years perhaps that comes onto the list. That’s principally an issue for the Football Associations, who ultimately decide whether a bid goes ahead or not.

“When we think back to the bidding landscape over the past year or two with FIFA, one of the things that the FA has had to reflect on was whether the World Cup was winnable, and I think it was the right decision [to focus on Euro 2028], because we were quickly able to move those plans that were built around the World Cup — even though it’s the Euros”, Morton added.