By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston will be asked about plans for a UK and Ireland bid for the 2030 World Cup by MPs on Thursday.
Members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee will ask Huddleston about the UK government’s support for the bid and the opportunities it presents to implement reforms in football.
The British government has provided funding towards a feasibility study looking at hosting the centenary finals. FIFA is expected to confirm the bidding regulations for the tournament by the middle of next year, with a decision on hosting set to be taken at its 2024 Congress.
There were fears that the chaos surrounding Wembley’s hosting of the Euro 2020 final would derail the 2030 bid, but UK Sport’s chief operating officer Simon Morton told the committee in a hearing last month: “We have to get the balance right here. It was unacceptable, but I think most countries around the world would recognise it is not reflective of what normally happens.
“In respect of the bid, I think the only thing I can say there is the UEFA president (Aleksander Ceferin), who is a key person in respect of the process, has been on the record saying it will have no bearing whatsoever on our bid.
“There are lessons to be learned, the FA has commissioned a review from Baroness Casey. It’s very serious. But I do not think it is the bid up in smoke.”
England failed in a bid to host the 2018 World Cup, losing out to Russia.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said last month that multi-nation bids like the proposed UK-Ireland one were the way forward, in order to make the World Cup sustainable and reduce the financial burden on hosts.
Talking about the UK and Ireland interest in 2030, he said: “I believe that in these five countries there is not a huge need of investment to be done in order to welcome the world for the World Cup.
“Now imagine if the bid… will be awarded the right to organise the World Cup – this fact of having a World Cup for men or women organised by five neighbouring countries could be the model to follow because it ensures sustainability.”
Huddleston will also face questions on preparations for hosting next summer’s Commonwealth Games and on the ‘listed events’ regime – those which are ring-fenced to be viewed free to air.
Last month the director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater, said the regulations needed to be brought “out of the analogue age”.