The UK and Ireland have moved closer toward filing a joint-bid to host the 2030 World Cup, with the UK government pledging £2.8 million in support of the project.
FIFA's bidding process doesn't officially start until 2022, but already a number of other regions have expressed interest, including Spain and Portugal joining forces and Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay coming together for a proposal.
In a statement, the football associations within the UK and Ireland said they were "delighted" to receive initial backing, though they acknowledged no final decision had been made on whether a bid would ultimately be submitted.
What government backing was promised?
Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, told the Sun that a World Cup in the UK and Ireland would be "an absolutely wonderful thing" and pledged £2.8 million toward a potential bid process.
"We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030," Johnson said. "I do think it’s the right place. It’s the home of football, it’s the right time."
What was said by the football associations?
The Football Association of Ireland, the Irish Football Association, The FA, the Football Association of Wales and the Scottish FA released the following joint statement:
“The football associations and government partners of the UK and Ireland are delighted that the UK government has committed to support a prospective five association bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
"We will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022.
"Staging a FIFA World Cup would provide an incredible opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for our nations. If a decision is made to bid for the event, we look forward to presenting our hosting proposals to FIFA and the wider global football community."
What comes next?
Behind the scenes work, mostly, as an internal feasibility study for hosting the 2030 World Cup will be worked on over the next year to help determine whether the bid should progress.