Sir Kenny Dalglish: We are in real danger of making World Cup Finals a joke, even if it helps Scotland qualify

Delegates from the United States, Mexico and Canada celebrate being awarded the World Cup Finals (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SO, we are in the running to host the 2030 World Cup Finals.

A joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is expected to be made to FIFA to stage the so-called greatest show on earth in 12 years’ time.

With the 2026 Finals being awarded last week to the USA, Canada and Mexico – after a comfortable voting process of 134 to 65 against a single bid from Morocco – it seems that a united bid by multiple nations is the way ahead.

Now, having three countries hosting must mean that they will all be involved, and will go straight into the tournament without going through the qualification process.

That may be all well and good, but I believe you need to earn the opportunity.

We now look as though we are heading towards the World Cup Finals increasing from 32 nations to 48.

I’m certain that will be the case in 2026 and beyond, but FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, dropped a heavy hint a few days ago that it could be increased for the 2022 Finals in Qatar and that would involve another nation getting involved to co-host and spread the load.


Of course, nothing should surprise us with FIFA any more, as they have already moved the goalposts for Qatar by switching the tournament from summer to the autumn/winter.

It leaves me a feeling a little cold.

We are in real danger of making the World Cup Finals a joke.

We should not be diluting the quality as much as is being proposed and undermining this fantastic showpiece.

The World Cup should not be used purely as a political and commercial vehicle.

Football should always be at the forefront of any decision, and it should be about having the necessary ability to qualify for the tournament.

The guardians of our game, at the very highest level, shouldn’t lose sight of that, and should be brought to task if they overstep the mark.

Also, for how many days and weeks would a 48-team World Cup last?

From England kicking off the tournament to winning the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966 took 20 days.

We are now at 31 days, and an increase of 16 nations would add at least seven days on to that, if not more.

That is totally unfair on the fans and the players.

You know, when you think about it, the award of the 2026 World Cup to three nations is wrong.

I mean, Mexico hosted it on their own in 1970 and 1986. The USA had it in 1994.

So what’s changed? Why can’t they do it now as a single bid?

It’s not unreasonable to ask the question. Has anybody asked it?

But maybe I’m one of the very few who aren’t in favour.

I just come from an era when the World Cup Finals were hosted by a single country, and we all got on with it.

It appears my attitude is outdated.

England could easily go it alone, but UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, has been given the nod that a joint bid is the best way to go about it, and he desperately wants the World Cup to be in Europe in 2030.

It is believed that there will be competition from a joint South American proposal from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

But that would mean the tournament being away from European shores since this current one in Russia and that’s not looked upon favourably.

Of course, despite my objections and reservations to a joint UK bid, if it meant Scotland were guaranteed entry into the tournament then it would be a no-brainer!

We haven’t been there since France ’98, so if it was a means to ending our drought after 32 years, then I’d have to back it.

And I could totally understand why the SFA would jump on this as quickly as possible to get the ball rolling.

For the SFA, having a joint bid is only a bad decision if it’s not helpful to your own.

In this case, it will be very helpful and most welcome, I’d guess.

As this summer’s tournament is now under way, once again it hammers home the point that Scotland are not there, and all of the things the players, management and supporters are missing out on.

Yes, we are used to it by now – but it doesn’t make it any easier.

But, of course, let’s hope we are there in 2022 and, indeed, 2026.

If not, we may well have 2030 – the 100th anniversary of the World Cup Finals – to finally pin our hopes on.

At this stage, we have no idea who the manager and the players will be at that time and during that era, but we would get behind them.

And, no doubt, many of us would be raising a glass to FIFA even if, deep down, we didn’t really agree with it.