Morocco, Spain, and Portugal have been named hosts of the 2030 World Cup, while Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will host the opening matches to mark the tournament’s centenary, world soccer body FIFA announced on Wednesday.
A joint bid by Morocco, Portugal and Spain was the only candidate to host the tournament. FIFA was due to announce the hosts next year.
The inaugural World Cup in 1930 was held in Uruguay and won by the hosts. Spain won the World Cup just weeks after their former boss Luis Rubiales was forced to resign over an alleged sexual assault at the Women’s World Cup.
FIFA’s decision on Wednesday means the World Cup will be held on three continents and six countries for the first time, which could mean group matches will have to be played in different seasons by hemisphere.
“The FIFA Council has unanimously agreed that the combined bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain will be the only bid to host the event in 2030 and automatically qualify from the existing slot allocation,” FIFA said in a statement.
“Furthermore, taking into account the historical context of the first-ever FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Council further unanimously agreed to hold a unique centenary celebration ceremony in the country’s capital, Montevideo… as well as three World Cup matches in Uruguay. , Argentina and Paraguay.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup was held in Qatar. Argentina is the defending champion.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) said their team “will play the first match of the 2030 group stage at home and with their people”.
“In a divided world, FIFA and football come together,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“The FIFA Council… has unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the FIFA World Cup, the first edition of which was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.
“As a result, there will be a celebration in South America and three South American countries – Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay – will each host one match at the 2030 FIFA World Cup.”
Infantino said the first of those three matches would be played at Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario, which hosted the first World Cup in 1930.
Robert Harrison, president of the Paraguayan Football Association, said Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay would automatically qualify for the World Cup, but did not specify what that would mean for the South American qualifiers.
THE WORLD CUP RETURNS TO SPAIN
While Portugal and Morocco have never hosted a World Cup, Spain last hosted the tournament in 1982.
Pedro Rocha, chairman of the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s management committee, said they were thrilled to bring it back to the country that won the 2010 World Cup.
“I am sure that together with Morocco and Portugal we will organize the best World Cup in history,” he said.
Fernando Gomes, president of the Portuguese Football Federation, said: “Each of our countries brings a vibrant footballing tradition, unrivaled organizational experience and a capacity for innovation that will undoubtedly leave a mark on the future of the competition.”
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI welcomed FIFA’s decision. The African nation stunned the world in Qatar last year when they reached the semi-finals.
“His Majesty King Mohammed VI… is pleased to announce to the Moroccan people that the FIFA Council has unanimously selected the Morocco-Spain-Portugal bid as the sole candidate to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup,” the Moroccan royal office said. in the statement.
FIFA also stated that the 2034 FIFA World Cup would be held in the Asia or Oceania region, with member associations from those territories invited to bid to host the tournament.
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