*Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay to host matches in celebration of 100 years of the Mundial
Twenty years after South Africa hosted the first FIFA Men’s World Cup in the continent, Morocco has been selected as joint host of the 2030 edition along with Spain and Portugal.
FIFA Council headed by Gianni Infantino yesterday decided that the World Cup’s centenary in 2030 will also have opening three matches taking place in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. It will be held across six countries in three continents.
According to FIFA, the opening matches in South America are to mark the World Cup’s centenary as it will be 100 years since the inaugural tournament in Montevideo. Uruguay’s La Celeste lifted the trophy on home soil and also triumphed in 1950, famously beating rivals Brazil in the final.
The FIFA Council decision is to be ratified at a FIFA congress next year.
“In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting,” said Infantino.
“The FIFA Council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the FIFA World Cup, whose first edition was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.
“In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents – Africa, Europe and South America – six countries – Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay – welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup,” the FIFA chief noted with excitement.
FIFA also confirmed only bids from countries from the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation will be considered for the 2034 finals.
Saudi Arabia is expected to bid to host the tournament in 2034 for the first time.
Montevideo in Uruguay, the city which hosted the first World Cup match in 1930, is poised to stage the opening game in 2030 with matches in Argentina and Paraguay to follow.
The rest of the 48-team tournament will then move to north Africa and Europe.
If the 2030 proposal is approved, Morocco would become only the second African nation to host a World Cup, after South Africa in 2010.
Spain has been named as joint-host weeks after former football federation chief, Luis Rubiales, resigned following criticism for kissing Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup.
Spain last hosted the World Cup in 1982, with Italy winning the tournament for the third time.
Portugal has never hosted the tournament, but Euro 2004 was held there.
As in previous World Cups, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Portugal and Morocco will all qualify automatically as joint-hosts.