Support growing for Sheffield to host England World Cup 2030 matches '“Â if FA wins bidÂ
Support is growing for Sheffield to host matches at a proposed 2030 World Cup in England '“Â if the FA is successful in bidding for the tournament.Â
Following the Three Lions' run to the semi-finalsÂ in Russia in the summer - spearheaded by six players froÂ South Yorkshire and north DerbyshireÂ -Â the FAÂ revealed it is considering putting together aÂ bidÂ for the country to stage the tournament in 12 years' time.
Former sports minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn expressed his belief that if football is coming home then Sheffield must play a key role because the city is the 'birthplace of the game' being home to Sheffield FC theÂ world's oldest football club.
He highlighted how Sheffield has also hosted matches at both the 1966Â WorldÂ CupÂ and Euro 96 - and theÂ city boasts boasts some of the best sports facilities on the planet.Â
That view has now been echoed by a number of city leaders who have come forward to express their support for Sheffield to bid to become a host city.
Hallam FC Chairman Steve Basford said: "What an incredible opportunity for our city-the city of sport. The home of football, the world'sÂ oldest and second oldest clubs, Sheffield FCÂ and Hallam FC,Â and the world'sÂ oldest ground at Sandygate (dated to 1860), to be a host city for the 2030 world cup.'
He believes the tourism created would boost the city's economy by "millions of pounds" and added: "The chance to show off our fantastic city and its incredible sporting heritage must not be missed."
Mr Basford did, however, accept that there may need to be some improvements toÂ infrastructure and the grounds of the city's two league clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield Untied if a host city bid went ahead.
Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O'Mara said: "Sheffield is the birthplace of football and the FA, Football League and Premier League need to start doing more to pay tribute to that fact."
Former FIFA referee and Sheffield resident Keith Hackett said: "During Euro 96 I was part of a team that created a pop-up Football Museum at Kelham Island. We had many artefacts on display and attracted many visitors from overseas.
"When the song 'Footballs Coming Home' is sung, there can be no doubt that Sheffield is the true home of football.
"If the Football Association are to make a bid to bring the World Cup to England in 2030, then Sheffield must once again come to the fore and be part of the bid.
"The costs are not small, but the rewards are huge.'
FA chairman Greg Clarke said recently the FA has 'agreed to conduct feasibility work into the possibility of putting itself forward to be UEFA's potential candidate to host the 2030 FIFAÂ WorldÂ Cup.
"This work will take place during the new season and no decision will be made until 2019."
A Sheffield Council spokesperson said: "The council will wait until the FA seek discussions on their proposedÂ bid. At that stage, the city will consider its position."Â
A Sheffield Wednesday spokesperson said it was onlyÂ "very early stages" and added the club will monitor the situation with aÂ "watching brief."
Sheffield United said they needed more time to look into the move before providing a response.