Mims Davies, the new sports minister, has reinforced a message of Government support for any formal bid to host the 2030 World Cup and argued that “times have changed” following the humiliation of Fifa’s 2018 process.
England’s failed bid for last year’s tournament was publicly spearheaded by Prince William, David Beckham and David Cameron – and cost £21 million – but received only two votes from Fifa’s 22-strong executive committee. Fifa president Sepp Blatter was subsequently ousted and is now serving a six-year ban from football, but later said that it had been “agreed inside the group” that the tournament should go to Russia.
England’s bid leader Andy Anson has said that it was not worth bidding until “you know that the process is going to change to allow bids like ours to win” and Davies appears to have faith that Fifa’s new regime, headed by Gianni Infantino, would provide a realistic chance. The idea would be for a joint bid to host the tournament across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“I think it’s right that we make it very clear that coming to these shores would be very appealing for Fifa,” said Davies. “It’s a great opportunity. Early stages. We’ve had our fingers burnt before so let’s just tread carefully but be in the mix. Times have changed. Thank goodness.”