FIFA announced on Wednesday that it has awarded the 2030 World Cup finals to the joint bid of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. The opening match will be played in Montevideo (Uruguay), while Argentina and Paraguay will also play their opening matches of the tournament on home turf, a move designed to mark the centenary of the first World Cup, which was staged in Uruguay in 2030.
The first proposal for Spain to host the World Cup for a second time, having previously done so in 1982, was put forward by FIFA and the Spanish Football Federation in 2018, when former RFEF president Luis Rubiales asked then-prime minister Pedro Sánchez for the government’s support to organize the 2030 World Cup.
The path for Spain, Portugal, and Morocco was cleared following Saudi Arabia’s decision to withdraw its bid to host the 2030 tournament. The Saudi bid, which was submitted jointly with Greece and Egypt and would have represented the first time a World Cup had been staged on three continents at the same time (Asia-Europe-Africa), collapsed as the inclusion of Morocco split the African vote.
A key lure of the unprecedented three-continent project now in the making is being able to open in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, where the Centenario Stadium hosted the inaugural 1930 World Cup final.
“The centennial World Cup could not be far from South America, where everything began,” said Alejandro Domínguez, the president of South American soccer body CONMEBOL. “The 2030 World Cup will be played in three continents.”
The consensus reached by once-rival soccer continents also let FIFA fast-track the opening of the 2034 World Cup bidding contest, limited to member federations from Asia and Oceania.
Saudi Arabia has targeted the 2034 edition and Australia also is interested after successfully co-hosting the Women’s World Cup this year with New Zealand. Either way, the 2034 tournament will almost certainly played in November and December — like last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The FIFA Council’s acceptance of a unified 2030 candidacy still needs formal approval next year at a meeting of the 211 member federations. That should be just a formality.
“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,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
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