There is no denying that Ireland has become more world renowed for rugby, even sitting second on the world rankings leading into 2019's Rugby World Cup. Despite this, Ireland's success in soccer has been limited, still attempting to recreate the glory days of Italia '90. With poor management from the FAI in recent years, Ireland's joint bid to host the World Cup with the UK could be the FAI's saving grace.
Ireland and the United Kingdom are jointly bidding to host the 2030 FIFA world cup. To advance on the 2030 hosting bid, the independent football organizations ( Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales) of both regions have released a joint statement, where they shared their excitement about the proposed football project.
Football is arguably one of the most loved sports globally, which makes hosting the FIFA World Cup a competitive bid amongst nations. Not only is it capital intensive, it also requires a high level of preparation from the hosting nation.
To prove their optimism on the hosting right, the UK chancellor Rishi Sunak disclosed his government would commit £2.5 million (€3.2 million) in the British budget to fund the UK and Ireland’s joint pitch to host the tournament.
“We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place,” he said. “It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country, as reported by the Irish Times.
According to Planet football, the tournament will feature 48 teams by 2030, meaning around 16 venues would be needed from both Ireland and the UK.
Furthermore, it is expected that the facilities have a minimum holding capacity of 40,000 spectators, with an increase to 60,000 for the semi-finals and 80,000 for the World Cup Finale match.
In terms of location it is also of importance that the facilities are in close proximity to an international airport. The football content website also suggested stadiums that the matches might happen which includes Aviva Stadium in Dublin. While others are Wembley Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur's Stadium, Old Trafford, Anfield, Hampden Park, among others.
Previously Ireland attempted to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the country only secured two FIFA votes. The international football tournament for 2018 was later hosted by Russia. Meanwhile it was estimated that they spent about $10.6 billion to host the World Cup.
Compared to countries like England, Spain, Germany and France, Ireland is not a leading destination for football. However, if the 2030 bid is successful the country stands a chance of gaining more exposure to a global audience and generating an increased revenue from tourism.
Also looking at the other segments of the FIFA football tournaments like the Under-21 and Under-18 football games, this joint hosting with the UK might pave the way for an independent hosting right in the football sector.
The next World Cup is scheduled for Nov 21, 2022 - Dec 18, 2022 in Qatar, which would be the first time a country in the Middle East would be hosting the tournament. However there have been calls to boycott the Qatar World Cup given its human rights record.
If Ireland were to host the World Cup, despite its hefty price tag, is likely to attract a significant influx in tourism, thus helping hospitality industries, as well as local businesses, whom have been some of the worst affected from the COVID19 pandemic. Additionally, the World Cup, is likely to place the spotlight on the FAI, and the revenue derived from hosting the World Cup can be reinvested at grass roots levels.
Since the announcement of the joint bid, cities like Galway, have already heard calls to commence the building of new stadium. It is unlikely Ireland will see the recreation of the "Bertie Bowl" however a new emphasis on soccer in Ireland will likely create a rekindled love for the sport.