The international football body FIFA has announced that the 2030 football World Cup will be hosted by Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, with the first three matches held in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay to mark the 100-year anniversary of the tournament.
The decision, announced on Wednesday, means the World Cup will be held in six different countries across three continents.
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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,” 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 has announced its intention to bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.
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.
FIFA said bids for the 2034 World Cup would be limited to Asia and Oceania, because of Wednesday’s decision and the 2026 tournament allocated to the Canada, Mexico and the United States – the first to include men’s teams from 48 different countries.
Apart from Saudi Arabia, the other likely contender is Australia which jointly hosted this year’s women’s World Cup with New Zealand.
FIFA Council takes key decisions on FIFA World Cup™ editions in 2030 and 2034: Morocco, Portugal and Spain joint bid is the sole candidate to host FIFA World Cup 2030™
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) October 4, 2023
Meant to pay homage to the inaugural World Cup, hosted and won by the South American nation of Uruguay in 1930, the decision may be viewed as excessively complex – it will involve large amounts of travel between different continents and time zones.
The agreement was reached on Wednesday between the sport’s continental leaders.
“The centennial World Cup could not be far from South America, where everything began,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of South American football organisation CONMEBOL. “The 2030 World Cup will be played in three continents.”
Morocco is the second African country to host a World Cup, following the 2010 edition in South Africa. Argentina hosted the 1978 tournament and Spain the 1982 edition.
Portugal and Paraguay will host World Cup games for the first time like Morocco, but all three have staged continental championships in the past.
The tournament will take place in June and July of 2030, with 104 matches scheduled.
The most recent Women’s World Cup was hosted by Australia and New Zealand in July and August, with Spain beating out England in the final.