Football could be coming home after all as an England-led bid to host the 2030 World Cup gained momentum.
In the wake of the England team’s success at this year’s tournament in Russia, Labour have announced their support for the World Cup returning to British shores for the first time since 1966.
Deputy leader Tom Watson revealed Labour want the World Cup to come to the UK in 12 years’ time, in order to celebrate the centenary of the tournament.
England have previously failed with bids to host the 2006 tournament and the 2018 contest, which went to Russia amid accusations of corruption.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Watson said: “It’s the national game, it can bring the country together, it can give us hope.
“We were disappointed in 2018 when we did the World Cup bid, it seems to me that we should be bidding for the World Cup 2030.
“That’s a few years off and we don’t know who’s going to be in government in a few years’ time.
“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.
“If the Conservatives are still in government, then we’d like to work with them to make sure that a bid is successful.”
The England side returned from Russia on Sunday after finishing fourth, their joint-best performance at a World Cup since they won the tournament as hosts in 1966.
Last month, former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, who was ejected from football’s governing body over ethics violations, said he would “definitely advocate” an English bid for the 2030 World Cup.
When the US, Canada and Mexico were recently named as joint hosts of the 2026 World Cup, England’s FIFA vice-president David Gill said he had “great confidence” there are now “appropriate” procedures for choosing where the tournament is held.
Backing an English-led bid in 2030, he said: “You look at the assets that we’ve got in England, or the UK, in terms of grounds.
“Some of the best grounds in world football; the best training grounds. So, why not? It would be fantastic.”
Mr Gill said that the prospect of England joining up with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for a 2030 bid “would be looked at”.