For the 2030 World Cup, South America calls on history

The deadline may seem distant, but the major maneuvers have already begun. The South American bid for the World Cup in 2030 advanced a new pawn on Thursday July 28. A decisive pawn.

As anticipated since a meeting last June of the four governments, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile have formalized their plan to host the Centenary World Cup in eight years. In Asuncion, last month, the vice-president of Paraguay, Hugo Velazquez, had confirmed the will of the four countries to “relaunch their intention to host the 2030 World Cup.” The intention is now concretized by a more official announcement.

The South American project dates back to 2017. It was initially led by Argentina and Uruguay. Very quickly, Paraguay joined the adventure. In February 2019, the three applicants became four with the arrival of Chile. The global pandemic has slowed their march, but never encouraged them to give up.

With their official bid, announced by the Argentine Football Federation (AFA), the South American bid should pick up speed quickly. The precise details of the project are not yet known, including the potential distribution of the stadiums, but they should be revealed as early as the beginning of next month.

If successful, the 2030 World Cup would be the first in history to take place in four nations. The 2026 edition will already mark a turning point, with three host countries, the United States, Mexico and Canada, and a final phase with 48 teams. For the next one, FIFA could still shake up its habits.

At this stage of the campaign, the picture remains very vague. Two questions, above all, still lack a clear answer.

The first concerns FIFA’s final decision. The body is supposed to announce the winning file in May 2024, six years before the event. But the complexity of a possible World Cup in four countries, with 48 qualified teams, could lead FIFA to advance its choice.

Another unknown, the competition. In addition to the South American project, another application is already official. It is carried by Spain and Portugal. The two countries do not drag on the road. Spain, in particular, announced in mid-July that it had pre-selected fifteen stadiums, an initial list which will be reduced to eleven in the coming months.

For the rest, the competition lacks clarity. Already a candidate five times (1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026), without ever having been successful, Morocco would always be ready to try its luck again. Will he do it alone? Last June, the rumor circulated in the English and Spanish media that Morocco could join forces with Spain and Portugal, an option which would be rather appreciated by Gianni Infantino.

Also in Europe, the four-team project of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia has been talked about a lot for a while. But it was never officially filed. Last February, UEFA dealt him an undoubtedly fatal blow by explaining that they wanted to support a single European file, then explaining in the process that it would be that of Spain and Portugal.

The British project, too, was thrown to the nettles. England and Ireland have scratched it from the list by choosing to apply to host Euro 2028.

Less than two years from the decision, or even less if FIFA opted for an early choice, the battle that is taking shape should oppose the South American project to the Spain-Portugal ticket.

Faced with the economic power of the European market, South America intends to play the card of history. “We want to remind you that the first World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930, and that our continent exports the best players in the world“, insisted last June the vice-president of Paraguay, Hugo Velazquez. Sufficient ? Not sure.

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