BORIS Johnson has offered up Britain’s stadiums for the whole European Championships as the UK’s vaccine roll-out surges ahead of the continent — and he can’t wait to raise a pint to the prospect.
The football tournament’s semi-finals and final are already pencilled in for Wembley in July but temporary teetotaller Mr Johnson said last night: “Any other matches they want hosted, we are certainly on for that!”
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It could kick-start a “bonanza” decade of footy, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak set to pump millions into funding the UK and Ireland’s joint pitch to host the 2030 World Cup in tomorrow’s Budget.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the Prime Minister said: “We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place.
“It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country.”
Mr Johnson hopes the image of plucky Brexit Britain, fresh from its vaccine success, hosting the European tournament this summer would be a great advert for the UK’s 2030 bid.
And he hopes it will encourage us all to play more sport so the country can “build back fitter” from Covid.
The PM admitted he is gasping for a pint at his local to toast the possibility of greater Euros involvement just as soon as the pubs are allowed to start serving again.
Admitting he is currently “on the wagon”, Mr Johnson said not being able to have a tipple during lockdown had been “a nightmare”.
He said that he would “line up” the pints at the first opportunity when pubs and restaurants are permitted to begin serving outside next month under his strict lockdown-easing policies.
As well as pubs reopening in April, trials will begin into how best to get fans safely back into football grounds.
We are very, very keen to bring football home in 2030.
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By Harry Cole
BORIS Johnson showed off his painting skills to a class of key workers’ kids yesterday ahead of schools returning next week.
The Sun joined the PM at St Mary’s Primary in Stoke-on-Trent, where he defended the pace of lockdown easing.
He said: “Education is the priority. Getting all schools open on March 8 is something we have set our hearts on for a long time.”
With all Covid restrictions scheduled to be lifted by mid June, it is hoped that — with vaccine passports and mass-testing — Wembley could be at 90,000-capacity by the July finals.
Ministers are in talks with UEFA amid fears the current plan to host the contest across 11 European cities will be sunk by soaring Covid cases across the Channel.
Mr Johnson said: “We are hosting the Euros. We are hosting the semis and the final.
“If there’s, you know, if they want any other matches that they want hosted, we’re certainly on for that but at the moment that’s where we are with UEFA.”
And a summer of football this year would showcase Britain as the perfect venue for the World Cup in nine years’ time.
The Sun can reveal that Chancellor Sunak’s Budget tomorrow will earmark £2.8million to promote the UK and Ireland’s official pitch to FIFA to hold the tournament.
There will also be £25million in new funding from the Treasury to help the grassroots game grow.
It would be enough to fund around 700 new pitches across the UK.
That will helps towards the government’s plans to get Britain match fit for the future
Mr Johnson insisted: “One of the things we want to do is we want to bounce back fitter.
“We want to bounce back better, but also we want to do much more to encourage sport in this country post pandemic.”
And Mr Sunak will earmark a further £1.2million of new funding so that the Women’s European Championships goes ahead in England in July 2022.
Mr Johnson said: “We want to see a bonanza of football in the years ahead.”
But he insisted that this summer’s revelry would not be possible without the “absolutely stunning” ongoing success of the country’s vaccine roll-out.
Mr Johnson said he could “only echo Her Majesty the Queen” in her recent message for everyone to get jabbed.
Ahead of the Budget, Mr Johnson said: “The vaccination programme has given us a great deal more certainty than we might otherwise have had.”
During a visit to St Mary’s CE Primary School in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, he added: “I have no doubt that if we get it right, as I’m sure we can, we can have a strong, jobs-led recovery.
“I think that it could be much stronger than many of the pessimists have been saying over the last six months or so.”
And he said the roll-out success had added certainty to his proposals from last month to ease the country out of lockdown.
He said: “It has given us a lot of assurances and credibility to some of the dates that we’ve set out. It’s incredibly positive.”
On the back of news that Britain’s homegrown Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine is leading to declining deaths and hospitalisations from Covid, Mr Johnson teased France’s President who had bad-mouthed the pioneering jab.
Emmanuel Macron conducted a screeching U-turn this week after claiming that the jab was flawed.
We want to see a bonanza of football in the years ahead.
He now says he would definitely accept one if offered.
Mr Johnson said he was delighted to see the Frenchman’s embarrassing about turn.
He said: “I am thrilled the President of the French Republic has said would have one himself, that’s very positive. It’s very positive to see the endorsement.”
And Mr Johnson swerved questions over whether he had called Mr Macron out on his claims that the Oxford jab was not suitable for over-65s.
He would only say he has “good relations” with Mr Macron.
It came amid rumours of a blazing behind-the-scenes row about his comment.
Mr Johnson said: “We’ve had glowing testimonials now from both the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Emmanuel and that’s what we need to hear.
“And that’s good by the way for the whole of Europe.”
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