First minister and football association chief of Wales both suggested the country will apply for the 2026 World Cup. But despite their claims they have only one stadium to offer at this point and their most preferred joint bidders, England, don’t seem to need a partner.
During recent large event conference first minister Carwyn Jones and FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford both drew impressive visions regarding Welsh plans regarding football. The country will host its first ever European Supercup in 2014, at the Cardiff City Stadium that is now being expanded.
Future plans include the already announced bid for one group of the Euro 2020 and a newly-announced application to hold a Champions League final at Millennium Stadium. But most surprising and bold idea is the one to grab the 2026 World Cup.
"The most likely joint bid would be with England and we know we have three good stadia we can offer. By 2026 we can get the Liberty Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium up to 30,000-plus to supplement the Millennium Stadium." said first minister Carwyn Jones.
However it is worth mentioning that capacity of 30,000-plus still fall short of the FIFA minimum set at 40,000 for group games. Meanwhile already now the planned expansions of Liberty Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium have caused controversy and it seems adding further few thousand seats might be problematic. In Cardiff the traffic congestion and parking infrastructure caused concerns, while in Swansea the plot is restricted.
Should the expansion plans for both Premier League venues not change, Wales has only one stadium meeting the FIFA-set regulations and with that in mind the invitation for England to join the bid sounds immodest. Especially with England being the biggest loser of the previous bid for 2018 and 2022 World Cups and already then the country had more than enough cities bidding to meet FIFA’s expectations.