The 2030 World Cup

2030 World Cup hosts
2030 World Cup hosts

We know the next World Cup in 2026 will be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the USA, but what about the following cup, which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the World Cup and fall on the 24th edition of the tournament? We know that FIFA rules state that the Asian Football Confederation and CONCACAF as the two past hosting confederations cannot bid. So, Africa, Europe, South America, and Oceania are eligible to host. Many countries and groups of countries have expressed an interest in bidding to host the 2030 World Cup with the four ones in bold below confirmed.

Already (1) Uruguay, who held the first cup in 1930, is the sentimental front-runner to host it in a joint bid together with Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile. Thereafter Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru joined forces and will also be bidding.

Similarly, Europe is throwing its hat in the ring, bidding on the 2030 World Cup, with the concept that England as the nation who codified the sport should be considered but that was eventually dropped, and then (2) Spain and Portugal said they would put up a joint bid with latecomers Ukraine.

In Africa, (3) Morocco stated they would bid on their own and there is a chance for another, multi-country bid too.

But now there are two new types of 2030 World Cup bids coming in which FIFA president Gianni Infantino, not one to follow his own organization’s rules, is considering. The first is a series of AFC bids one a joint bid from the two Koreas, with overtures to China and Japan to join in. Then Australia said they were interested too and said it might be a joint bid with Indonesia. Finally, China said they are exploring bidding on their own. Then came the cross-confederation bids one from (4) Egypt-Greece-Saudi Arabia and one still being discussed from Israel a UEFA member with an AFC member such as UAE or Bahrain.

What do we make of the contesting bids—who should host World Cup 2030?

The South American 2030 World Cup bid is fraught with memories of the 1978 World Cup. If it were Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile, then maybe. Certainly, bringing the cup back to where it started for its centenary and playing the final in Montevideo’s Centenary Stadium seems poetic. Chile and Paraguay could also play dignified supporting roles. But Argentina is problematic as it is still reeling from its bad reputation and its inability to host Copa America-Messi.

Morocco seems like another Qatar—small, ok infrastructure, but not a logistically ideal location, with all types of potential security issues, and it would be a difficult job for them to host alone. Add to that the potential that 2030 could be a huge event (48-teams, multiple media and fan interests given the centenary, etc.). Until we have the proof from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that despite all appearances and pre-judgments the event went swimmingly, Morocco seems a risk.

Egypt-Greece-Saudi Arabia jointly would certainly have the stadiums, infrastructure, and in-country logistics capabilities to host the 2030 World Cup but the intra-country logistics would seem daunting and fans moving through three such jurisdictions would not be a smooth travel experience.

There is really only one choice to host the 2030 World Cup—Spain, Portugal, and Ukraine.

The stadia are there, the necessary in-country and intra-country (Spain-Portugal) logistics and infrastructure are there, the experience of holding major international tourneys is there, the ability to host fans and visitors is huge, the added tourism choices for travelers in Iberia are immense, but the 4,000 miles between Lisbon and Kyiv means that specifically chosen Group Games would have to be played in Ukraine and the vast majority of the cup on the Iberian Peninsula. But, assuming the Russian aggression has ended and Ukraine is still a viable nation in 2030, then the sentimentality attached to helping that brave nation rebuild would be an added incentive to hold it there.

 

Spain and Portugal, Shutterstock ID 2197010871, by onepixelstudio

 

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