The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is considering being part of a joint home nations bid to host the 2030 Fifa World Cup, according to UK media reports.
The Times newspaper says the idea is being considered by English soccer’s Football Association (FA), and that the Irish governing body would be open to an approach for detailed discussions over the possibility of staging the sport’s flagship international tournament.
The latest developments come less than a week after Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), confirmed that exploratory discussions between the home nations, including England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, are already underway.
FA chairman Greg Clarke said in August that the governing body was carrying out a feasibility study into bidding for 2030, and Ireland’s involvement is considered to present several advantages.
It is thought that a bid backed by Ireland could win votes from countries that might not usually support the UK associations, especially those who look unfavourably upon England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland due to their separate status within Fifa.
Ireland’s involvement would also solve the problem of including Northern Ireland in a UK-only bid, given that Dublin could host matches at its 52,000-seater Aviva Stadium, while Belfast does not boast a suitable venue.
On the other hand, having Ireland and Britain involved would mean separate governments and currencies, although that is unlikely to raise issues for Fifa given its decision to award the 2026 World Cup to the US, Mexico and Canada.
Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have already announced plans to jointly bid for the 2030 World Cup, while it has been reported that Morocco is exploring the possibility of joining forces with Spain and Portugal in an attempt to finally land the competition.
A bid from the home nations would have the backing of Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, who last week described a joint proposal as a ‘wise idea’. The 50-year-old also said that he would insist on only one European for the 2030 World Cup to save Europe becoming ‘divided’ because of the tournament.