Saturday 24 August 2019

FAI coy on approach to GAA over World Cup 2030 bid

FAI President Donal Conway. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
FAI President Donal Conway. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

FAI President Donal Conway says the Association need to be 'sensitive' when discussing the prospect of Croke Park involvement in a proposed bid for the 2030 World Cup.

The prospect of a UK and Ireland tilt for the tournament is very much on the cards.

Conway said on Saturday that the FAI's crisis has not affected Ireland's input into talks. Plans remain in motion with a feasibility study set to be carried out.

The Aviva Stadium and Croke Park are the only two venues on the island of Ireland that would meet the criteria for hosting and it's believed that bid organisers would like to have both venues available for consideration.

"We are in the preparation of a bid," said Conway. "All of the UK and the Republic of Ireland; the five associations.

"I would be very sensitive about Croke Park in the sense that, you know, if the GAA were talking about using the Aviva, we'd be very sensitive.

"But we had a session there only in the last week and this is operating at government level, civil service level, UK Sport, the five member associations.

"At executive level, there is another meeting due in October so it moves along and it's still on track that a feasibility study will be completed."

The bid team could have more time on its side as it was initially anticipated a final decision would be made in 2022.

But FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently said that the final call may not be made until 2024.

He also suggested that regulations could be tweaked to allow China bid for the tournament.

Under the existing rotation rules, countries from a confederation that has hosted one of the two previous World Cups are not allowed to bid.

China are in the same confederation as Qatar, who host in 2022. But Infantino suggested in June that those regulations could be changed.

The 2030 plan was previously one of the tasks on the menu for John Delaney when he moved to the position of Executive Vice President.

FAI chief operating officer Rea Walshe told a Council meeting in May that Euro 2020 project head Declan Conroy was due to act as the association's consultant in working group meetings.

Irish Independent

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