Scotland still keen for World Cup 2030 bid with rest of UK and Ireland, insists SFA president Rod Petrie
The chaos at Wembley as England lost to Italy on penalties has been interpreted as sounding the death knell for plans to host the World Cup in the British Isles.
However, Petrie remains confident that a pan-association strategy can still be salvaged. The SFA president suggested it might be the best and indeed only way to finance a redevelopment of Hampden Park following the brutal economic impact of the pandemic.
Petrie stressed that Scotland had shown what’s possible by successfully hosting four games at Euro 2020.
“We were one of only 11 countries able to provide a stadium – a great venue and fantastic facilities for the supporters who were able to travel and enjoy it,” said Petrie.
“Scotland is part of this emerging bid for the World Cup in 2030. We’re still at a feasibility stage where we’re looking at things and discussing it with our bid partners.
“There’s collaboration across the five associations, along with government support from Westminster and Holyrood. Also, the Republic of Ireland government are supporting the FAI. It will be interesting to see how the feasibility studies develop and where we get to.
“We have to be respectful of others who may bid for it and it’s still quite a way off until FIFA put out bid regulations and start accepting applications.”
He downplayed concerns that the Wembley scenes have already torpedoed plans to co-host the World Cup since it would be impossible to do so without the under-fire English FA’s involvement.
“There are incidents at games from time to time,” he said. “I don’t think there would be games at the World Cup where there were 20 or 30,000 empty seats inside and supporters would have that knowledge when they wanted to come and show their support and solidarity for their national team.
“There were incidents that happened but it’s not for me to comment. It’s up to the authorities to investigate thoroughly and properly.
“They will take whatever action is appropriate as a result of that and, importantly, learn lessons, as we always do in football. We always learn from games that are played.”
Petrie considered the prospect of upgrading Hampden, with many describing the stadium as looking tired and worn at Euro 2020.
“We were in the process of acquiring it just as the pandemic started to hit,” he said.
“We got to this phase where we took stock of what we have and where we are.
“We don’t have a pot of money to start spending at the moment. It’s very important to look after the members and make sure they are financially secure. The Association’s money is their money.
“If we can have the right plan to invest in the supporter experience and infrastructure that enables us to get access to more revenue through participation in other tournaments and events, then we can have a virtuous circle where everything supports everything else.
“Participation in something like World Cup 2030 could go hand in hand with some funding to invest in the stadium, and that would be very welcome,” he added. “We can’t take that for granted or make any assumptions on that.”
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