Great Britain

Ireland throw support behind joint bid for 2030 World Cup with UK

The Taoiseach has spoken with Boris Johnson to offer close cooperation on a joint bid by the UK and Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup.

Micheal Martin confirmed on Tuesday that he has spoken to his opposite number in the UK to offer his support for the bid.

Speaking to RTE News before a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Mr Martin said the Government will do what it can to "add value" to the joint bid.

He said: "It's very exciting news, it's very interesting. Obviously it's very early days, but we're very happy to cooperate with the UK and, indeed, all the football associations involved.

"Obviously the whole idea of Ireland as a location for major events is something successive governments have been pushing for.

"It's early days, but we'll certainly do whatever we can to add value to that proposition. I think sports fans would be particularly happy with that, and it's something to look forward too."

Earlier Leo Varadkar said the joint bid would be "something for us to work towards together".

Writing on Twitter on Tuesday morning, Mr Varadkar said: "Great to see this coming together. Something for us to work towards together. Would be a real festival of football."

The bid was announced in a joint statement by the football associations of all five nations on Monday night.

Ireland's Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said the British and Irish Governments will embrace the bid "in a really positive way".

Up to six million euro may be made available through the Department of Sport to support the bid.

Competition for the hosting rights to the 2030 World Cup is expected to be fierce as it will mark 100 years since the very first tournament was held in Uruguay.

Football associations will be able to lodge bids at any stage between 2022 and 2024.

Mr Chambers said: "We are at an early stage of this process. But the fact that we have an ambition across the two islands, to try and work together to bring one of the biggest tournaments in the world to our shores I think is really positive.

"We'll do everything we can to work with the different Football Associations and the British government to try and advance this in a positive way."

A major events division was created in the Department of Sport during Ireland's ultimately unsuccessful bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Mr Chambers said a significant amount of the six million euro budget for that division will be put towards the World Cup bid.

He told RTE's Morning Ireland: "We'll be purposing a significant amount of that into our engagement and collaboration with the British government.

"The exact amount that's required in terms of the feasibility process is being worked through.

"But we won't be found wanting when it comes to putting our best foot forward and to hold the feasibility and viability process of this bid.

"I think it's something that we can be incredibly positive about."

Asked about the use of GAA stadiums such as Croke Park and Pairc Ui Chaoimh for the bid, Mr Chambers said: "We'd need obviously significant co-operation, and there is great co-operation anyway, between the great governing bodies of sport."

In an interview with The Sun, Mr Johnson said: "We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it's the right place.

"It's the home of football, it's the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country."

A joint statement released by the FA and the football associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland on Monday evening read: "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.

"Staging a Fifa World Cup would provide an incredible opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for our nations.

"If a decision is made to bid for the event, we look forward to presenting our hosting proposals to Fifa and the wider global football community."

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