MOSCOW (Reuters) - FIFA’s improved bidding process for World Cup hosting rights, which led to victory for the tri-nation North American bid for the 2026 event, has given English officials renewed confidence about a possible future bid.
While Wednesday’s vote means that Mexico will host their third World Cup and the United States their second, England have been unable to win hosting rights since 1966.
The next available World Cup is the 2030 edition and a South American tri-nation bid involving Argentine, Uruguay and Paraguay has already been announced.
FIFA vice-president David Gill, the former Manchester United chief executive and ex-FA official, had previously stated that England would consider a bid in 2030 if the selection process worked.
England had lost out to Russia eight years ago in the bid for the 2018 tournament in a process that was heavily criticised with several of the voters on FIFA’s executive committee later caught up in the organisation’s corruption scandal.
Asked about the reformed bidding process which saw the North American bid defeat Morocco’s fifth attempt to host a World Cup, Gill said: “What it does is it gives you great confidence that the procedures in place now are appropriate and relevant.
“For me, I was very pleased with the process and I think it was very well done and I was delighted with the work that was done over very many months,” he added.
South American officials have said that they are expecting a bid from England - possibly in alliance with the other parts of the United Kingdom - but Gill said any such decision would be one for the Football Association.
However, the man who represents the United Kingdom’s four nations on the ruling FIFA Council, said he personally would relish the idea of his homeland hosting the World Cup.
“If you love football, everyone would like to have it wouldn’t you? We are here there is excitement, you can see it,” he told reporters.
“Ultimately this is the biggest national team competition, we all know that, it is going up to 48 teams, why wouldn’t you?
“If you love football, to see it on your doorstep, I remember (Euro) 96, it was all enjoyable. If you love football why wouldn’t you want to do it? If you look at the assets we have in England, in the UK, some of the best grounds in world football, best training grounds, why not? It would be fantastic.”
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge