• Dan Tracey


While there’s no doubt that the UK has gone through a torrid time over the past 12 months, there is at least some light at the end of this very dark tunnel and with the European Championships just months away, a feast of football will soon land on these shores.

A feast, that could see its portion sizes become even larger, if UEFA decide to revert from their original cross-continent plan of tournament hosting and if that is the case, it may be down to one sole nation to take on the burden of party planner.

A role that the UK are seemingly ready to take and with the Semi-finals and Final of the delayed championships already being staged at Wembley, there is now an appetite to host as many tournament fixtures as deemed necessary.

While although there are some concerns over the health risks that could be generated through a wider hosting responsibility, these risks should be mitigated against the backdrop of increasing vaccine intake.

Whether UEFA feel the need to change direction in terms of venues remains to be seen and if they decide to stay with the stadia status quo, there will be an element of disappointment for those fans within the UK.

However, there is another element of major tournament news which could be the biggest of all and with the same UK government prepared to back a joint bid with the Republic of Ireland, there is every chance that football could be coming home again in 2030.

Because 2030 signifies, the next FIFA World Cup that is up for grabs in terms of bidding and with the competition expanding to 48 nations from 2026, it means that combined bids are viewed as the only way forward.

Admittedly mainland Britain has enough top tier football grounds to stage an expanded World Cup on its own, although that would come at an incredible cost and therefore, it would make sense to utilise some of their neighbour’s facilities at the same time.

Not only that, but with two governments throwing their backing behind such a bid, it is less of a financial strain for the UK to solely carry on their own and this means, their Irish Sea counterparts have also been included in these plans.

Of course, this will not be the only recognised interest when it comes to hosting the 2030 World Cup and with an Argentina and Uruguay joint bid also believed to be soon on the table, the South American pair are viewed as the early favourites.

With Uruguay hosting the 1930 edition and inaugural World Cup, this would be the centenary tournament and with such a milestone connected to it, it is extremely hard to look past a return to South America.

However, that is not to say such a decision is set in stone and if there is enough lobbying from the UK’s bidding team, there is no reason to suggest that FIFA’s crown jewel cannot return to these shores for the first time since 1966.

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