BRITAIN is aiming to host the World Cup, the Tour de France grand depart and another Rugby World Cup over the next 15 years.
In a post-Brexit strategy, UK Sport has announced a list of 60 targeted events, with the Fifa World Cup top of the list, after missing out on the 2018 tournament.
England bidded for the 2006 World Cup, which was awarded to Germany, and this year’s spectacle in Russia — but after a Fifa corruption clean-up the government are looking for a post-Brexit shot in the arm.
UK Sport is being used to try and reinforce the idea Britain is “open for business” after Brexit.
Theresa May is keen to use the success of the 2012 Olympics and the ongoing global popularity of the Premier League as examples that the UK is great at hosting top sport.
Wembley is being used to stage major matches at Euro 2020, including the final, while matches will also be played at Hampden Park.
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The 2030 World Cup is being looked at in a feasibility study, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all being involved.
The government are also looking at partnering with the Republic of Ireland, meaning the UK and Ireland would have five nations involved in the tournament, but also an EU partner country in post-Brexit Europe.
Cardiff hosted the 2017 Champions League final, while Glasgow hosted the same match in 2002, while Dublin regularly hosts major rugby matches.
UK Sport CEO Simon Morton said: “This is us thinking about where the country finds itself right now and the big challenges it has over the next decade, how we can use sport to help the country.
Sporting events Britain wants to stage post-Brexit
Start of Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025
Ryder Cup 2026
World Athletics Championships 2027
Fifa World Cup 2030
Rugby World Cup 2031
(England and Wales already hosting 2019 Cricket World Cup)
“It feels to me like for the first time in decades our country is going to be in a little bit of nation building.
“The last five years really for us as a country we’ve been talking about our own identity, whether it’s the strength of our unions the United Kingdom or it’s how overseas people see us either in Europe or the rest of the world.
“So Brexit is a massive factor behind this.
“We want to think about how we can use sport and sporting events to really showcase the best of the UK to the world.”
Drawing on the victory by the United States, Canada and Mexico in landing the 2026 World Cup, a British Isles entry is seen as essential to attracting votes in the new system that gives every football nation a say in the decision.
England last hosted the World Cup in 1966 when it won on home soil.
The FA are confident they can land a bid after the United States, Canada and Mexico were announced as hosts of the 2026 tournament.
Morton added: “We have to recognise that process that Fifa has just used (for the 2026 World Cup) was significantly better than before, significantly more transparent than before.
“But everybody remembers the process of the last decade. So the FA is doing a feasibility study to look at whether we should bid.”
Yorkshire hosted the 2014 Tour de France grand depart, with two stages in the county and a stage finishing in London before the race went across the Channel and back to France.
The other two grand tours — the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana — have similar early-race starts on foreign soil.
Meanwhile England’s hosting of the 2015 Rugby World Cup was similarly lauded, even though the hosts were dumped out in the pool stages.
The 2017 World Athletics Championships was also well run, with the event hosted inside the London Stadium after its post-Olympic refurb.
UK Sport chair and former Olympic star Katherine Grainger said: “It’s not a conclusive list of things that we will definitely target, never mind expect to get.
“We couldn’t afford to get them all anyway.”
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