UK government offers $4M for 2030 World Cup bid with Ireland


The British government will provide 2.8 million pounds ($4 million) to pursue a five-nation bid for a 2030 World Cup with Ireland.

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The English Football Association disclosed the financial assistance for a potential British Isles bid on Monday as it received fresh backing from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place,” Johnson said in an interview with “The Sun” newspaper. “It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country.”

Johnson calling England the “home” of football is the language the country’s bid for the 2018 World Cup sought to avoid so the FA didn’t give the impression of seeming entitled to host the FIFA men’s showpiece. The 2018 bid flopped, with only two of 22 FIFA votes received, despite Prince William lobbying executive committee members on the eve of the decision.

England, which hosted and won the 1966 World Cup, is exploring bidding with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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London, Glasgow and Dublin are being used this year among the 12 cities across the continent staging the 2020 European Championship that was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022,” read a joint statement on Monday from the five British Isles football associations. “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.”

FIFA is planning for its congress of 211 football nations to pick the 2030 World Cup host in 2024.

A rival bid in Europe is being pursued by Spain and Portugal and UEFA wants a single proposal from the continent. There is also a coalition of South American countries pushing ahead with a bid from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile.

China could also bid if FIFA changes its rules on rotation of World Cup hosts with the Asian Confederation also staging the 2022 edition in Qatar. The continent’s turn on hosting is not due to come again until 2034. The 2026 World Cup will be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The 2018 bidding process was mired in controversy with many of the voters later embroiled in investigations or banned. David Cameron, who was British Prime Minister at the time of the 2010 vote, said “the corrupt undertones were all there.”

During the World Cup bidding, FIFA was led by Sepp Blatter who was later banned from football for six years by the FIFA ethics committee after being forced from office in 2015.

Cameron said the corruption at FIFA reflected an issue “that proved to be more prevalent than I had expected.”

“Those same forces that had denied Britain the World Cup,” Cameron wrote in his 2019 autobiography, “bribery, lack of transparency, collusion, fraud were depriving people around the world of safer, healthier, wealthier lives.”

FIFA has been led since 2016 by Gianni Infantino. A special prosecutor in Switzerland last year recommended opening a criminal investigation against Infantino, who denies wrongdoing.

Man United warn Greenwood about behavior

Mason Greenwood
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Manchester United have warned Mason Greenwood about his behavior as the 19-year-old forward has been involved in several incidents off the pitch in recent weeks.

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Greenwood, who scored 17 goals for Manchester United in his breakthrough campaign in 2019-20, was sent home by England after breaking COVID-19 protocols in Iceland and has also apologized after historic pictures of him inhaling nitrous oxide canisters emerged.

Reports now suggest that his poor time-keeping has been flagged by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he didn’t feature in the wins at Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain.

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have the latest details on Manchester United warning Mason Greenwood about his behavior off the pitch:

Mason Greenwood has been warned about his behaviour by Manchester United following recent issues, including time-keeping problems.

The youngster, who came through the club’s academy before establishing himself in the first team last season, has been reminded of his responsibilities as a Manchester United player.

It is understood Greenwood, who has missed the back-to-back victories over Newcastle and PSG, has a minor injury.

Solskjaer is said to want the same discipline off the pitch as Sir Alex Ferguson demanded from his players and he certainly sets high standards.

Captain Harry Maguire was backed publicly by the club as he was arrested and initially charged with violence, bribery and resisting arrest in Greece this summer.

Maguire has since been given a retrial, but there are a few disciplinary issues creeping into both the England team and Manchester United.

Greenwood is young and has made mistakes and it is now about learning from those as quickly as possible and moving on. He is in the public eye after his superb displays for Manchester United and with that comes an expectation level as to how to behave on and off the pitch.

It really is that simple. The best role model for Greenwood is at his club: Marcus Rashford. Greenwood needs to spend as much time as possible following his example.

Maguire says he was ‘scared for his life’ before arrest in Greece

Harry Maguire
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MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United captain Harry Maguire defended his actions in Greece that led to him being charged with assaulting a police officer and attempted bribery, saying Thursday that he thought he was being kidnapped and feared for his life.

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Maguire was convicted and handed a suspended 21-month sentence by a Greek court on Tuesday but was granted a retrial after lodging a successful appeal.

Harry Maguire made his first public comments about the incident on the island of Mykonos in an interview with the BBC, saying plain-clothed police officers pulled him and a friend out of a minivan they were traveling in and started hitting them.

“My initial thought, I thought we were getting kidnapped. We got down on our knees, we put our hands in the air, they just started hitting us,” Maguire said. “They were hitting my leg saying my career’s over: ‘No more football. You won’t play again.’

“And at this point I thought there is no chance these are police or I don’t know who they are so I tried to run away, I was in that much of a panic, fear, scared for my life. All the way through it.”

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Maguire claimed that incident took place outside a police station after he attempted to take his younger sister Daisy to a hospital because she appeared to be losing consciousness having been approached by two men during a night out.

The 27-year-old center back denied attempting to bribe the police.

When asked about that, he replied: “No, for sure. As soon as I saw that statement, it’s just ridiculous.”

Harry Maguire was dropped from Gareth Southgate’s England squad having initially been included before his conviction on Tuesday.

He insisted he has no reason to apologize for the incident, but expressed regret at causing potential embarrassment to his club.

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“I don’t feel like I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you’ve done something wrong or regret. I regret being in the situation,” Maguire said, adding that he is confident he will be cleared in the retrial. “I have great faith in the Greek law, the retrial will give us more time to prepare, gather the evidence, allow witnesses into the court. And I am really confident that the truth will be told and come out.”

Speaking of the initial incident with his sister, Harry Maguire said: “These two men approached my little sister, asked her where she was from. She responded and then my fiancee, Fern, has seen my little sister’s eyes go into the back of her head. She ran over and she was fainting, she was in and out of consciousness.”

Maguire granted retrial in Greece; Man United support captain

Harry Maguire retrial
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The latest twist has arrived as a Harry Maguire retrial will take place Greece, one day after he was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and repeated attempts of bribery.

Maguire, 27, appealed the verdict and has been granted a retrial. Under Greek judicial law an appeal being filed and accepted means that the initial court verdict is canceled and the conviction has been nullified. Maguire had returned to the UK, while his legal team and his father remained on the island of Syros for the initial court hearing.

Another court hearing will now take place in a more senior court. Maguire was dropped from the latest England squad by manager Gareth Southgate after the guilty verdict.

The Manchester United and England star was given a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days after being found guilty of all charges, as he and his family were caught up in the incident on the Greek island of Mykonos.

Manchester United released the following statement on the Harry Maguire retrial as they support their captain.

“An appeal against yesterday’s verdict was lodged this morning by Harry’s legal team. In accordance with the Greek judicial process, the filing of an appeal extinguishes the initial court verdict and nullifies the conviction. The appeal has been accepted and will lead to a full retrial in a more senior court. This means that Harry has no criminal record and is once again presumed innocent until proven guilty. Accordingly, he is not subject to any international travel restrictions.”

Maguire pleaded not guilty to the charges. Despite that, the Greek authorities want the Manchester and England defender to apologize for the behavior of himself and his family and friends during the alleged incident.

Here’s some more background information from our partner at Sky Sports on the Harry Maguire retrial and the situation:

Harry Maguire was kicked in the leg by police officers who told him “your career is over”, the Manchester United captain’s lawyer has told a Greek court.

The prosecution alleged that once Maguire arrived at a police station, he said: “Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United, I am very rich, I can give you money, I can pay you, please let us go.”

Plain clothes police officers intervened to try calm the situation, but the “English men” did not, and one of the defendants said “f***, f*** the police” and one punched an officer, it was claimed.

The court had been asked to postpone proceedings over his alleged involvement in a brawl on the island of Mykonos in Greece – with his legal team claiming they did not have enough time to prepare.

But the trial went ahead against his defence team’s wishes, with his lawyer Alexis Anagnostakis telling the court in Syros that two Albanian men had approached Maguire’s sister Daisy – who fainted immediately after being injected with an unknown substance. They called for transport and asked to be driven to hospital, but were instead taken to a police department.

Harry Maguire dropped by England after guilty conviction

Harry Maguire dropped
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England has dropped Harry Maguire from the national team roster following his guilty conviction in Greece on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Courtroom details from Maguire’s trial ]

Maguire was given a 21-month suspended sentence after being arrested on an aggravated assault and attempted bribery of an official charge on the Greek island of Mykonos last week.

The Manchester United captain plead not guilty to the charges earlier this week. He was with two others who allegedly had a disagreement and were then abusive to the police as plain-clothes police officers were at the scene. Maguire’s defense team alleged that his sister was given a “rape drug” which led to the altercations.

From Sky Sports:

“In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark,” Southgate said in a statement. “As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”

Maguire has 26 caps for the Three Lions and has scored once for England.

Southgate just announced his squad on Tuesday, which includes five other center backs: Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.

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