FA chairman Greg Clarke confirmed last month that talks over an England-led bid were under way
THE planned British Isles World Cup bid was hit by a shock broadside as Spain unexpectedly threw its hat into the 2030 ring.
FA chairman Greg Clarke confirmed last month that exploratory talks over an England-led bid were under way.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has made no secret of his desire to see a British Isles bid – which would see the majority of games in England but could include the Republic of Ireland – on the table.
Ceferin is determined that there will be one European bid and is actively supporting the FA-led plans.
The British bid is certain face opposition from South America, where Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay have already launched their attempt to land the tournament.
It had also been expected that there would be a North African bid comprising Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
And despite Fifa’s “rotation” rules seemingly making an Asian bid a non-starter, there have been soundings from China and even the suggestion of a four-nation tournament based in China, Japan and North and South Korea.
But the anticipated landscape has been thrown out of kilter by reports from Spain that new FA president Luis Rubiales has joined forced with Fifa president Gianni Infantino to moot a campaign to be the European candidate.
Rubiales has told the Spanish government that he is looking for Madrid’s backing to try to host either the 2030 World Cup or the 2028 European Championships.
Spain are considering either a go-it-alone one-nation bid or joining forces with Portugal and Morocco to stage the first World Cup played in TWO continents.
Spain may be a more likely candidate for the Euros, which they have not hosted since it was just a four-team tournament in 1964.
Ceferin is unlikely to be impressed with Spain’s attempts to muscle in on his territory after he made it clear he was giving his endorsement to the planned England-led bid.
And FA bosses will also feel that Rubiales has misled them after giving no indications that Spain could be a 2030 rival when he attended the Nations League win over England at Wembley on Saturday.
Despite that, the British bid would be the initial favourite for 2030, with the decisive vote of Fifa’s 211 national associations expected to take place days before the 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar.