Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the UK is prepared to host as many games as necessary at this summer’s European Championships in an attempt to ensure the event goes ahead.
12 different countries are currently set to host the delayed tournament, with Wembley Stadium taking both semi-finals and the final, but UEFA are considering scrapping those plans and keeping everything in one country because of the COVID-19 risk.
The UK has stepped up its vaccination programme and expects to allow fans back into football stadiums in some capacity before the end of the current season, and Johnson confirmed in an interview with The Sun that he would feel confident in hosting more matches across the summer.
“We are hosting the Euros. We are hosting the semis and the final,” he said. “If they want any other matches hosted, we’re certainly on for that but at the moment that’s where we are with UEFA.”
Johnson also confirmed plans to launch a bid to see England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland host the 2030 World Cup. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil a £2.5m budget for the bid, while there will also be an extra £25m pumped into grassroots football from the Treasury.
“We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place,” he continued. “It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country.”
The Football Association added: “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.”