England 'ready and willing to host 2022 World Cup'
England is ready to host the 2022 World Cup if it is stripped from Qatar in the wake of allegations of corruption and bribery in FIFA, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has said.
Mr Whittingdale said the country has the facilities and mounted an impressive, if unsuccessful, bid to host the 2018 World Cup, and so could host the 2022 event if asked by FIFA.
He spoke as MPs asked whether England could step in to host the World Cup if allegations that the bid process for the Qatar tournament was corrupt are found to be true.
Mr Whittingdale backed Football Association chairman Greg Dyke's observation that since the 2018 World Cup is being hosted by Russia, it may be unlikely that another European nation would be granted the 2022 edition.
But he said England "obviously" has the facilities to host the world's biggest football tournament, last held in the country in 1966.
During culture questions in the Commons, Mr Whittingdale said: "In terms of the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, that is obviously something which we are watching, but at the moment that decision stands.
"If it were decided to change that, I think as the chairman of the English FA observed, if Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018 it does seem very unlikely that another European country would host it in 2022.
"But obviously if FIFA came forward and asked us to consider hosting it, we have the facilities in this country and of course we did mount a very impressive, if unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup."