Spain, Portugal, and Morocco to host 2030 World Cup: A historic moment for football

Spain, Portugal, and Morocco to host 2030 World Cup: A historic moment for football

A distinctive 2030 FIFA World Cup is on the horizon, set to be held across three continents: Europe, Africa, and South America, in a remarkable twist that will see the tournament kick off with a grand celebration of Uruguay’s 100th birthday.

FIFA announced that it had brokered an agreement on Wednesday among soccer’s continental authorities to consider just one host candidate for the 2030 World Cup.

Initially a joint bid by Spain and Portugal, the 2030 campaign expanded its scope this year by including Morocco and subsequently, long-standing rivals Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. One of the main attractions of this unprecedented three-continent endeavor is the opening match scheduled to take place in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the iconic Centenario Stadium, where the inaugural 1930 World Cup final was played.

Alejandro Dominguez, the president of the South American soccer body CONMEBOL, emphasized the significance of bringing the centennial World Cup to South America, where the history of the sport began, stating, “The 2030 World Cup will be played in three continents.”

This united stance by once-competing soccer regions also paved the way for FIFA to expedite the bidding process for the 2034 World Cup, exclusively for member federations from Asia and Oceania. Saudi Arabia has expressed its interest in hosting the 2034 edition, while Australia, fresh off successfully co-hosting the Women’s World Cup with New Zealand, is also keen. Regardless of the host, the 2034 tournament will likely take place in November and December, much like the previous World Cup in Qatar.

Formal approval of the unified 2030 candidacy by the FIFA Council is still pending and is expected to be a mere formality when it is put to a vote at a meeting involving the 211 member federations next year.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his enthusiasm for the historic event, stating, “In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, spanning three continents—Africa, Europe, and South America—and involving six countries—Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, and Uruguay. It will unite the world in celebrating the beautiful game, the centenary, and the FIFA World Cup.”

The 48-team, 104-match tournament scheduled for June-July 2030 is designed to commence with matches in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay before transitioning to the primary host nations of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. This arrangement will entail an unprecedented amount of travel across vast distances and multiple time zones.

The South American co-host bid, which had initially included Chile, has been in the works since the 2018 World Cup in Russia. However, Chile’s involvement was not mentioned in the latest announcement. Ukraine, which had been added to the European bid a year ago at a news conference at UEFA headquarters in Switzerland, has also been omitted from official discussions regarding the UEFA-backed bid this year.

The first 48-team men’s World Cup, scheduled for 2026, will be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.