World Cup: Sports minister Nigel Huddleston refusing to rule out 2030 bid

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Sports minister Nigel Huddleston is refusing to rule out a bid for the 2030 World Cup as the Government remain keen… despite DCMS chair Julian Knight calling plan ‘utter NONSENSE’

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston has reiterated the Government’s desire to bid for the 2030 World Cup despite being told it is ‘utter nonsense’ by MPs.

Appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Huddleston insisted the crowd trouble at Euro 2020 will not ‘put the kibosh’ on the country’s hopes to host the FIFA tournament and he is ‘confident’ such problems would not surface again.

The Government are committed to spending £11million on a feasibility study for a joint UK and Ireland bid for the World Cup.

Huddleston remained defiant in the face of criticism

England qualified for the 2022 World Cup last week but eyes in Government are looking ahead to 2030

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston (left) says the Government are still determined to make a bid for the 2030 World Cup, despite MPs stating talk of bringing it to England is ‘utter nonsense’

That is despite Sportsmail revealing last month that Spain and Portugal’s joint offer was already UEFA’s preferred option to take forward to the FIFA vote.

In Thursday’s hearing, DCMS committee chair Julian Knight told Huddleston: ‘Give me the money if you want, I can just tell you that we’re never going to win it.’

But the minister replied: ‘I do not share your pessimism. We’ve not had any indications that the events at Wembley are going to put the kibosh on our bid.

‘Let’s not pretend for one minute that that will not do us harm. I blame those who participated in this unruly and despicable behaviour for undermining our national game, and actually potentially undermining our ability to put a credible pitch forward to UEFA and FIFA for the World Cup.

The crowd chaos at the Euro 2020 final had 'undermined' efforts, admitted Huddleston

The crowd chaos at the Euro 2020 final had ‘undermined’ efforts, admitted Huddleston 

The appalling scenes at the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley left figures in football disgusted

 The appalling scenes at the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley left figures in football disgusted

‘That said, in the conversations we’ve had so far it’s recognised that it was exceptional and we actually can hold events very well.

‘I think it is absolutely vital we put ourselves front and centre on making sure that we are on the world stage of hosting events. We are in a good position.’

Huddleston was also quizzed on the Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle and asked whether it would be appropriate for North Korea to buy a Premier League club.

Defending the lack of Government intervention in the Saudi purchase, he said: ‘Government doesn’t have a say in acquisitions of private sector entities unless there are legal concerns.

‘In the case of Newcastle it was right for the football authorities to follow their appropriate processes, including the owners’ and directors’ test, which they did do.’

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