The Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has given his backing to the 2030 World Cup being held in England – or a combined British bid.
The Slovenian said earlier in the week that it will be “Europe’s turn” to host the tournament, following 2022 in Qatar and a 2026 event tipped to take place in North America. Ceferin has now gone further by backing a return to Britain for the first time since England hosted and won the 1966 World Cup.
“For me, they are absolutely capable of organising it from an organisational point of view, from an infrastructure point of view,” he told the BBC. “But of course it’s a decision not just for the FA, probably the government and all the others too. But you know everything about English or British football, so they deserve to have a World Cup in the near future.
“I don’t know how much encouragement they need, but they are capable of organising the World Cup, I’m sure. That’s the decision of the Football Association and if they decide to go, we will strongly support them. They will have all our political support. I just hope we will not have two European bidders, because that would not be good. I think the ideal situation would be to have one European bidder, and then all of Europe stands together and we can achieve it.”
Ceferin also addressed the corruption scandal which saw his predecessor Michel Platini and former Fifa president Sepp Blatter suspended from football for four and six years respectively. The pair each had their bans cut from an initial eight years after appealing against sanctions relating to an illicit payment from Blatter to Platini in 2011.
“With those … let’s call them ‘Fifa matters’, even Uefa’s image was damaged,” he said. “And it was not our fault. OK, we also had some problems, but it was not to such an extent. But I still think that Fifa is improving. Things are changing. I’m sure it’s not easy, there are many internal interests, there are many, many people that were involved in FIFA and want to stay there. But at the end, Fifa will have to change completely, or … it will hurt all the football organisations around the world.”
Britain gets a taste of hosting a major event on Saturday evening with the Champions League final, between Juventus and Real Madrid, taking place in Cardiff. It brings Real’s Gareth Bale back to Wales after he helped his country memorably reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016, and Ceferin feels the occasion will help further Wales’s development.
“It’s quite different if you bring the Champions League final to a city like Cardiff compared to a city like London,” he said. “London will not change if the Champions League final comes to town. For Cardiff it’s a fantastic experience. It’s a bit of a challenge for us because of the lack of infrastructure – hotels and things like that – but I’m sure that they will never forget it. It’s very important also for the development of football. They had some fantastic results last year, especially at the Euro, and they have one of the best players in the world. For a small country like that, it’s a fantastic result.”