Ireland’s dreams of hosting a World Cup may not be as far-fetched as previously thought after the FAI’s confirmation that they are joining forces with the counterparts from Scotland, Wales and England to explore the feasibility of making a joint bid for the 2030 tournament. The decision to seriously explore the prospects comes after a number of positive meetings with the other associations.
The research will likely examine a number of key aspects centred on infrastructure, transport links, accommodation, and venues for matches and team bases.
FIFA have minimum requirements for stadiums capacities for the World Cup finals. All stadiums must have a capacity of at least 40,000 for group matches, stadiums hosting semi-finals must have a minimum of 60,000 seats and those hosting the opening ceremony or final must have a capacity of at least 80,000.
The GAA would be likely to back any bid, having previously shown their support for Ireland’s failed Rugby World Cup bid. Croke Park’s capacity of 82,000 means it would meet the requirements to host the finals and opening ceremony, that distinction though could go to the larger Wembley Stadium. With 90,000 seats, it is the largest stadium in the UK and the second-largest stadium in Europe. The Aviva Stadium (51,000) already meets all the requirements to host group games at the tournament will be used at Euro 2020 with three group matches and a last-16 tie being staged at the venue. That will be an advantage because it gives Ireland the experience of hosting a major tournament.
The Aviva Stadium was also used to host the Europa League final in 2011, another example of Dublin as a suitable host venue for a major sporting event. The first murmurs of Ireland playing a part in a bid came during the recent World cup in Russia, when disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter intimated that the time was right for Ireland to join forces with England, Scotland and Wales to make a play to host the tournament.
He was quoted back in July as saying: “I think England or Ireland deserve to organise the World Cup. They have had it in '66 so it is a long time ago.
“I spoke with one of your colleagues from Associated Press and he said if Wales and Scotland joined together and I said, why not Ireland'."
"All of Ireland together! They will be a candidate I'm sure and I think with 48 teams, you need more than one country, definitely
Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay have already started campaigning to host the 2030 World Cup.
Tunisia have shown interest in backing a north African bid alongside Algeria and Morocco. Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup, while the 2026 tournament is being held in the US, Mexico and Canada.
Dublin - Croke Park - Capacity 82,300
Dublin - Lansdowne Road - Capacity 51,700
Wales - Millennium Stadium - Capacity: 74,500
Scotland - Hampden Park - Capacity - 51,000
England - Wembley - Capacity - 90,000 seats