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FA considering bid to host 2030 World Cup

Could the 2030 World Cup final be played at Wembley? Credit: PA

Football could well be coming home once again after the FA confirmed it is considering a bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

England last played host to the competition in 1966, the year in which they won, but failed in bids for the 2006 and 2018 World Cups - going out in the first round of voting.

If it goes ahead, England will constitute Europe's only bid for the tournament.

In a statement, FA chairman Greg Clarke said: "Last month the English FA board agreed to conduct feasibility work into the possibility of putting itself forward to be UEFA's potential candidate to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

"This work will take place during the new season and no decision will be made until 2019."

France beat Croatia to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Credit: PA

With the World Cup growing from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, when the 80-game tournament will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States, FIFA has hinted it believes the event may be too big for one country.

This has led to speculation that any bid from the UK will actually be an English-led joint bid with one, two or all three of the other home nations, and both the Prime Minister Theresa May and the opposition Labour Party gave their support for this idea last month.

The FA has not confirmed or denied if it is considering a joint bid with any combination of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but it has now formally admitted it is studying options.

As the 2026 tournament is in North America, the 2030 battle looks set to be between a Moroccan-led North African bid, a joint bid from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and whoever emerges from Europe.

Of those, the South American bid looks the most compelling as 2030 will be the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup in Uruguay.

FA Chairman Greg Clarke. Credit: PA

There is still the prospect that England could yet host the 2022 World Cup if FIFA strips Qatar of its right to host the tournament.

This follows last weekend's Sunday Times report that Qatar's bid engaged in a 'dirty tricks' campaign to discredit its rivals in the build-up to the 2010 vote, an allegation the country denies.

If proven true, however, former FA chairman Lord Triesman believes FIFA should give the World Cup to England, as it had the know-how and infrastructure in place to stage one at short notice.

This intervention has not been well received by the FA's current regime.

"FIFA has chosen Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and they have a duty to investigate any issues around the process that are rightly thrown into question," said Clarke.

"Russia did a brilliant job hosting the 2018 World Cup and we support the rotation of World Cup hosting among the confederations. That would make the 2030 World Cup the next one a European nation might be able to host, and not before.

"Anyone suggesting otherwise is acting disrespectfully to our global game and does not speak for the English FA."