Black Country World Cup bid scrapped by FA

Plans to host youth World Cup matches at Molineux and Villa Park in 2017 have been scrapped, it can be revealed today.

The Football Association has confirmed it has abandoned its bid to host the Under 20 World Cup in England.

The grounds were on the list being drawn up to submit to Fifa this week.

But the FA has decided that with the 2013 cup being held in Turkey it was unlikely to persuade Fifa to bring the tournament so close to Europe again so soon.

It has now shelved the bid for a later tournament, either 2021 or beyond and said the plans to use clubs as Wolves and Villa Park would form part of that.

Wolverhampton City Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence said: “Wolverhampton’s credentials as the stage for an international sporting venue have been recognised at the highest levels.

“Of course, we’re disappointed that the English FA has decided now to withdraw its bid for the 2017 event.

“Nonetheless, we’ll rise to other opportunities to promote the city’s considerable sporting and cultural assets.  We certainly hope to work with the FA again in bids for future tournaments.”

Matt Grayson, spokesman for Wolves, said despite the setback, he believed Molineux would now continue to be considered for international competitions in the future.

The candidate cities and venues that were being considered as part of the FA’s bid were Wolverhampton’s Molineux, Birmingham’s Villa Park, Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, Brighton’s AMEX Community Stadium, Bristol’s Ashton Gate, Leicester’s King Power, Manchester’s Etihad, Middlesbrough’s Riverside, Milton Keynes’ Stadium mk and Norwich’s Carrow Road.

FIFA is set to make a decision on the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup at its executive committee meeting due to take place in Brazil in December.

A spokesman for the FA said: “The FA is no longer involved and we have made the clubs aware.

“We were talking to clubs about an expression of interest. Friday was the deadline for a bid.

“But we have told Fifa that we are no longer involved.

“The tournament is in Turkey and to come back to Europe so soon is not really in their thinking.

“That’s why we’ve pulled out. The intention is to still bid in the future and the work done will be valid and useful.”

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