GAA not contacted about Ireland-UK World Cup bid 

At present, the 82,300-capacity Croke Park would appear to be the only GAA stadium that would meet the minimum 40,000-seater capacity criteria set out by Fifa for a World Cup
GAA not contacted about Ireland-UK World Cup bid 

The GAA has not been approached about the availability of its stadia for a potential joint UK-Ireland 2030 soccer World Cup bid. Picture: AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

The GAA has not been approached about the availability of its stadia for a potential joint UK-Ireland 2030 soccer World Cup bid.

A spokesperson told the Irish Examiner it had yet to be contacted regarding the feasibility of staging the event, which received Government backing on Tuesday.

At present, the 82,300-capacity Croke Park would appear to be the only GAA stadium that would meet the minimum 40,000-seater capacity criteria set out by Fifa for a World Cup.

As the event is traditionally staged in June and July, there may also be scheduling difficulties with the GAA.

This past weekend, the association’s Annual Congress agreed that All-Ireland finals from 2022 would be played by the third week in July.

Asked about the likes of Croke Park and Páirc Ui Chaoimh as well as Munster Rugby’s Thomond Park yesterday, Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers indicated the GAA’s support would be needed.

“We’d need obviously significant cooperation and there is great cooperation anyway between the different governing bodies of sport,” he said.

“And that’s why, as I’ve said, the feasibility process is so important. You have to work through the various stadia, you also have to bring regional benefits into such a bid.” 

Croke Park has just under 70,000 seats, although that is almost 20,000 more than the number at the all-seater Aviva Stadium (51,700). 

The reconstructed Páirc Uí Chaoimh has 21,000 seats with space for 24,000 on the town end and Blackrock terraces. 

In Thurles’ Semple Stadium, less than 25,000 of the 46,000 capacity comprises seats.

It is hoped the long-delayed reconstruction of Casement Park will eventually transform the Belfast venue into a 34,578-capacity stadium. 

There are 15,500 seats at Limerick’s 26,000-capacity Thomond Park.

While no decision has been reached on which stadiums could be used, Government sources say the "strong desire" at this point would be to use at least one outside Dublin, along with the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park, though Fifa is known to prefer to use just one stadium per city. 

That means Cork's Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Limerick's Gaelic Grounds would be eyed as potential venues. 

Up to €6m may be made available through the Department of Sport to support the bid.

Competition for the hosting rights to the 2030 World Cup is expected to be fierce, as it will mark 100 years since the very first tournament was held in Uruguay.

Football associations will be able to lodge bids at any stage between 2022 and 2024.

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