Wales confirm talks over bold bid to bring the football World Cup to Cardiff
Wales have confirmed talks have begun over plans to bring the football World Cup to Cardiff.
Provisional conversations have taken place between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland over a joint UK bid for the 2030 tournament.
The bold plan was first revealed immediately after the tournament in Russia this summer, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying the Government would support the British bid following England’s success in reaching the semi-finals.
Labour say they are also fully behind the proposal.
England would be the main drivers for the 2030 bid and FA of Wales boss Jonathan Ford said conversations have subsequently taken place.
The 74,000-seater Principality Stadium will form a key part of a feasibility study which is to be conducted by the home nations.
The proposal would extend to the whole of Ireland, enabling games to also be staged in Dublin.
It is far too early to speculate whether a successful home nations bid would mean automatic qualification into the finals, although that would appear unlikely.
There are set to be rival joint bids from different continents.
Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay have already announced plans to host together on what would be the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup that was staged in South America.
Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are putting together an African package, while there is talk Spain and Portugal want to provide a European alternative to the British plan.
Home nations powerbrokers held early talks at one of their recent regular get-togethers and Ford told BBC Wales: “This is something that has come up in conversation and it is something we are looking into.
“There is going to be a little bit of a feasibility study to see whether or not a UK-wide bid, a home nations bid or similar, would be a powerful, strong bid.
“Personally, I think it would be. We’d have a very strong and compelling bid.
“We have a fantastic stadium with the Principality Stadium and we’d love to be there, but there’s a lot of discussions to be had.”
England acted immediately after the World Cup following the buzz that surrounded the success of Gareth Southgate’s side reaching the last four.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have also confirmed their enthusiasm for the project.
The PM’s spokesman said previously: “The UK as a whole has a superb track record of putting on major sporting events. We are happy to sit with the football bodies to discuss any proposals.”
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said: “It’s the national game, it can bring the country together, it can give us hope.
“If we’re in government, I hope it’s one of the first things a Labour government does, which is work with our FA to try and put a World Cup bid together.
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“If the Conservatives are still in government, then we’d like to work with them to make sure that a bid is successful.”
FIFA insist upon minimum 40,000 capacity stadia for World Cup games, meaning the only suitable venue in Wales is the Principality Stadium.
The Welsh Rugby Union, who own the ground, will be fully supportive of the plan.
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