Sunak to back UK bids to host Women’s Rugby World Cup and Grand Départ
The UK will aim to host the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup and the 2026 Tour de France Grand Départ, with the chancellor set to pledge £30m to support the bids.
Rishi Sunak is expected to make the funding announcement in Wednesday’s budget and spending review, as well as an additional £11m towards a joint UK and Ireland bid for the men’s football World Cup in 2030.
However, it remains to be seen if the disorder at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley in July will have a negative impact on the latter, after Uefa fined the FA and demanded England play a home fixture without fans in 2022.
On Monday the FA launched an independent review of trouble at the match, which the Three Lions lost on penalties to Italy, with spectators asked to fill in a survey.
But the chancellor said he was excited at the prospect of bringing “world-class sporting events to the UK”.
He said: “That’s why I’m backing these British bids, with over £40m of funding to make our case. Our bids will include events taking place across the country, and I’m hopeful that everyone will get a chance to cheer on their sporting heroes.”
The government has previously committed £2.8m of taxpayers’ money for a feasibility study into a 2030 men’s football World Cup bid.
But after failed attempts to secure hosting rights for the same tournament in 2006 and then again in 2018, the value of such a bid has come under increasing scrutiny, including by MPs.
The secretary for digital, culture, media and sport, Nadine Dorries, said: “The UK has a proven, world-beating record for staging the biggest events in sport. We are backing both ambitious bids with funding because they will give people the chance to see fantastic world-class sport on home soil and hosting such prestigious events will boost local economies, jobs and opportunities.”
The government also emphasised its desire to bring world-class sport to people living outside the south-east.
The Tour de France Grand Départ bid includes stages in England, Scotland and Wales, while for the Women’s Rugby World Cup more than 75% of investment would be outside south-east England, it said.
Dame Katherine Grainger, the chair of UK Sport,said: “We want to reach towns and cities across the UK and grow a more diverse and sustainable fanbase for the future of sport.”