Morocco, Spain and Portugal have been named hosts of the 2030 soccer World Cup, while Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will host the opening matches to mark the tournament’s centenary.
It will mark the first time a World Cup has been played across six separate countries, with the 2026 tournament in Canada, Mexico and the United States the only other edition to have more than two host nations.
The inaugural World Cup in 1930 was held in Uruguay and won by the hosts after they defeated Argentina in the final in Montevideo.
Spain have been awarded the World Cup weeks after their disgraced former chief Luis Rubiales was forced to step down following his allegedly unsolicited kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup.
Yesterday’s decision by FIFA marks the first time the World Cup will be staged across three continents and six countries, which might mean group matches will have to be held in different seasons based on the hemisphere.
The decision is set to be ratified at a FIFA congress next year according to FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.
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“The FIFA Council unanimously agreed that the sole candidacy will be the combined bid of Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, which will host the event in 2030 and qualify automatically from the existing slot allocation subject to the completion of a successful bidding process conducted by FIFA and a decision by the FIFA Congress in 2024,” FIFA said in a statement.
“Additionally, having taken into account the historical context of the first-ever FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Council further unanimously agreed to host a unique centenary celebration ceremony in the country’s capital, Montevideo… as well as three World Cup matches in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay respectively.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced yesterday it plans to bid to host the 2034 World Cup, the latest step in a campaign to turn the kingdom into a global sports powerhouse.
The bid “Intends to deliver a world-class tournament and will draw inspiration from Saudi Arabia’s ongoing social and economic transformation and the country’s deep-rooted passion for football”, said a statement from the Saudi Arabian football federation.
News of the bid comes one year after neighbouring Qatar hosted the first World Cup in the Middle East, where the Saudi national team stunned the world with a group stage defeat of eventual winners Argentina.