This article was written by LastBlueHero, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – and edited by the Spectator.
Sometimes it is easy to forget there is more to unite us than there is to divide us.
That is definitely the case with the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. There are many people out there who seek to use divisions within our five countries. These people don’t care about these countries or what is best for them.. All they want is to make a quick attack ad against those on the other side.
That is why I wanted to show how strong the friendship between the countries of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is and how it benefits all of us with the United Kingdom and Ireland World Cup bid.
Since this Government announced it would back a World Cup bid, I have been asked why it is not just an England bid. This was the case with our failed bid for the 2018 World Cup and the famous one in 1966.
But this is a very different World Cup. Firstly, it will be the second expanded World Cup as it will have 48 teams. This means more stadiums are needed.
Theoretically, England could still hold the World Cup in its expanded state. But it would require serious investment into our stadiums and general infrastructure. There is a large risk to this. Over in Brazil, many of their stadiums which were used in the World Cup are now expensive white elephants which cause huge financial headaches for the clubs who own them. I don’t want that to happen here, especially with many of our clubs struggling already.
By sharing this bid across the United Kingdom and Ireland, we not only reduce our costs but also bring the World Cup to countries which would struggle to host it on their own. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have never hosted an international football tournament before. By working with England, these countries now host world class football and have the best players in the world compete on their shores.
If it wasn’t for the friendship between all of our nations, this bid would not be possible. If any of the five countries that part of this bid tried to host the World Cup on their own, they would struggle with the high costs and the risk of white elephants after the event.
With us all working together, we can share the costs and reap the benefits together. We will all get to enjoy the best football in the world together, from London to Glasgow to Dublin to Cardiff to Belfast. We will all get the thousands of tourists that will come just to watch the matches and then the hundreds of thousands that will come afterwards after seeing our nations on worldwide television.
This is only possible because of the great friendships between these nations. Let’s not ruin that.
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