Varadkar still ‘100 per cent’ behind Ireland’s 2030 World Cup bid with England

‘I think England’s team is a tribute to their nation. . . some of their supporters are not’

Leo Varadkar has said he is still behind  a joint 2030 World Cup bid with England. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar has said he is still behind a joint 2030 World Cup bid with England. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Leo Varadkar has criticised English football fans who broke into Wembley stadium for the Euro 2020 final but said the incident would not deter Ireland’s joint World Cup 2030 bid with the UK.

A section of fans without tickets to Sunday’s final clash between Italy and England breached security barriers and stormed into Wembley.

There were reports of some ticketless people being inside the stadium for the whole match, and of genuine ticket-holders being afraid to confront people occupying their seats.

The London Metropolitan Police said there had been 49 arrests connected to the match for a variety of offences and that 19 officers had been injured as they confronted “volatile” crowds.

Pundits have suggested the ugly scenes will come as a severe blow to the 2030 World Cup bid, but Ireland’s deputy premier said he remains fully behind it.

Varadkar said: “I’m 100 per cent behind that bid. I’m really encouraged by it and very keen that Ireland should be part of that.

“I think England’s team is a tribute to their nation. Unfortunately, some of their supporters are not. We saw the violence and the bad behaviour yesterday.”

Asked if the scenes made him reconsider the joint World Cup bid, he replied: “I don’t think so, no.”

Varadkar added: “It’s a minority and I don’t think we should ever try to tar a whole nation or a whole set of fans or support, just based on the behaviour of what I believe was a minority.”

Videos were posted on social media of people being attacked within the stadium concourses, while away from the stadium there was also disorder in other areas of London.

Varadkar also criticised England fans who booed the Italian national anthem at Sunday’s match.

He said: “We saw something really unfortunate in sport, somebody booing somebody else’s national anthem. That shouldn’t be done.

“I think it’s very disappointing that a number of English fans behaved in the way they did.”

Mr Varadkar also called on social media companies to take action, after a number of England players were subjected to racial abuse online following the game.

He said: “Certainly I would say to anyone who’s engaging in any form of abuse online, that’s really unacceptable.

“I’d be saying to the tech companies that they have a responsibility not to promote and to take down anything of a racist nature in that regard.

“I haven’t contacted them yet about it, but it’s the kind of message I would happily make public here.”

Varadkar congratulated Italy on their victory, while commiserating with England manager Gareth Southgate, and the players who missed penalties, costing England the championship.

He said: “I saw the match last night and I think the best team won, so my sincere congratulations to Italy on their victory last night.

“I have to say, I really feel for three guys who missed the penalties and for Gareth Southgate to experience that twice in his career, losing on penalties in that way.

“It must be really tough for him and for the three who missed.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.