'Boris Johnson wants to generate post-Covid feel-good factor with 2030 World Cup'

2 March 2021, 15:29

Boris Johnson is backing a prospective joint bid from the UK and Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup
Boris Johnson is backing a prospective joint bid from the UK and Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup. Picture: PA

By Sam Sholli

Boris Johnson is backing a prospective joint bid from the UK and Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup as he aims to create a post-Covid "feel-good factor", LBC has been told.

A joint statement from the football associations concerned on Monday evening said: "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.

"We will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022."

Speaking of the reasoning behind a potential World Cup bid Kieran Maguire, author of the Price of Football, told LBC: "I think it's trying to generate a feel-good factor to encourage people to look beyond Covid, with a view to showing that the UK can host huge events.

"We saw this successfully in 2012 with the Olympics. It's all part of Boris Johnson's sort of positive mentality. He's by nature a hopeful person.

"And therefore what is a relatively small investment in Government terms could turn out to be something which is successful in terms of driving tourism and infrastructure benefits."

Speaking of the potential financial cost of such a bid, he added: "I think we have to be very cautious. The benefit we have in the UK is that the stadiums are already there [and] the infrastructure is already there.

"So the additional costs to the public purse [and] to the football industry itself would be relatively small."