England’s hopes of hosting the 2030 World Cup have taken a major blow after Uefa opened an investigation into the chaos and disorder that surrounded the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against the English Football Association in the wake of Sunday’s match. Multiple eye-witness accounts and video footage confirmed that many hundreds of ticketless England supporters stormed the stadium, breaking through lines of security to watch the showpiece event.
The situation escalated into violent scenes in some instances, with other fans attacking those who reached the stadium’s concourse without a ticket. Some spectators reported having to take scared children home long before the match finished, while many others found their seat taken, including Italy fans who said they were abused when they confronted the intruders.
The trouble and Uefa’s subsequent charges are a damning blow to both the FA and the government in their bid to host the 2030 World Cup. The FA infamously failed miserably in its attempts to win the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, given to Qatar, but had high hopes of staging the showpiece eight years on.
Great Britain and Ireland have been working together on a joint bid and have already spent millions on feasibility studies, with UK prime minister Boris Johnson saying he is “very keen to bring football home in 2030”.
However it is set to be a competitive process. Spain and Portugal have confirmed their joint interest in bidding, while Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia hope to put forward a Balkans bid. Morocco is in talks with Algeria and Tunisia for a north African bid, while Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile are hoping to bring the World Cup to South America.
The FA could now face recriminations such as a hefty fine and its England team having to play their next Uefa-sanctioned game behind closed doors. England’s next scheduled fixtures are World Cup qualifiers ahead of next year’s tournament. As they are Fifa sanctioned, it is unlikely – although not out of the question – that a stadium ban would apply. The next Uefa match is likely to be a Euro 2024 qualifier when the qualification period begins in June 2022.
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