2030 World Cup: Three Continents, One Historic Tournament

by | Oct 6, 2023 | Football

The 2030 World Cup will have an innovative format, being held on three continents for the first time in history. The main host countries will be neighboring Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, but the opening match will take place in Montevideo, Uruguay, as a tribute to the first World Cup held in 1930. Additionally, some first-round matches will be held in Argentina and Paraguay.

After the initial matches in South America, the remaining games of the tournament will be played on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, spread across European and African countries. This decision was unanimous in the FIFA Council, which also unanimously agreed to award the joint bid of Portugal, Spain, and Morocco as the sole host of the 2030 World Cup.

The confirmation of the three main host cities is still pending ratification at the FIFA Congress next year, depending on the successful completion of the bidding process. The choice to hold the initial matches in South America was also approved unanimously.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino highlighted the importance of celebrating the centenary of the World Cup and the role of South American countries in organizing the event: “In a divided world, FIFA and football are coming together. The FIFA Council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the World Cup in the most appropriate way.”

Before the official announcement by FIFA, CONMEBOL President Alejandro Domínguez revealed that the 2030 World Cup would be shared across three continents. He emphasized the significance of starting in South America, where the first World Cup took place, and ending in Europe, where the final will be held.

The 2030 World Cup will feature 48 teams and 104 matches, following the model established for the 2026 edition. With this announcement, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay from South America, as well as Spain, Portugal, and Morocco from Europe and Africa, are already confirmed for the tournament.

Before the official announcement, there were two bids to host the 2030 World Cup: one composed of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and another led by UEFA, consisting of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. However, only the European-African bid was officially recognized by FIFA, due to the South American nations’ decision not to pursue an official bid.

CONMEBOL emphasized that the decision not to compete for a bid was made to promote unity within the global football family and pay homage to the origins of the World Cup. In recent years, CONMEBOL and UEFA have drawn closer and collaborated on various tournaments.

When asked about the exclusion of Chile, which was originally part of the South American bid, the CONMEBOL President explained that the initial idea was to have only two countries, Argentina and Uruguay, before adding Paraguay and later Chile. FIFA’s final decision was to expand to three countries.

In the same meeting, FIFA decided that the 2034 World Cup will be held in Asia and/or Oceania, with Saudi Arabia being a strong candidate to host the tournament, despite previously planning to bid for the 2030 World Cup hosting rights.

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