FIFA’s executive committee have met up and they’ve voted on who will host the 2030 men’s football World Cup.
And the winner is….drumroll please….six different countries across three different continents!
No, that’s not a typo. The World Cup, traditionally held in a single country, will be played in six nations situated thousands of miles apart – so much for FIFA’s green credentials.
The bulk of the tournament will be hosted by Spain, Portugal and Morocco, and while further details are not known it’s likely that the final will be played at one of Spanish football’s most iconic stadiums: the Bernabeu or the revamped Camp Nou.
So those are the main hosts of World Cup 2030, but Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will also act as ‘ceremonial’ hosts and welcome one game each, for reasons that will be explained shortly.
Because UEFA, CAF and CONMEBOL member nations have been selected as hosts for 2030, FIFA’s rules on World Cup rotations means that the 2034 edition can only be hosted by an AFC or OFC country. i.e. Asia, Oceania or the Middle East.
That has led to accusations that FIFA have effectively sold the 2034 World Cup to Saudi Arabia, who have already made their intentions to host the showpiece known.
The host nation automatically qualifies for the World Cup, and FIFA has already confirmed that Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will be given a pass through to the finals.
Why is Uruguay Hosting World Cup 2030?
FIFA, not shy of jaw-droppingly unaware rhetoric, has claimed that the decision to spread the World Cup across six countries will ‘unite the world in a unique global celebration’.
“In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting,” said the governing body’s president Gianni Infantino; a man so lacking in perspective and self-awareness that he may not even be sentient at all.
There is a celebration of sorts to be had, with the World Cup enjoying its centenary year in 2030 – the first edition, played in Uruguay, was held in 1930.
The 90,000 seat Estadio Centenario, which hosted much of the first-ever World Cup, will be handed the same honour in 2030.
Meanwhile, Argentina and Paraguay will also have their chance to host one of the opening games, before the action heads to Spain, Portugal and Morocco for the rest of the tournament.
Can More Than One Country Host the World Cup?
For decades, one nation was selected to host the World Cup.
But that all changed for the 2002 edition when a civil war broke out amongst FIFA’s executive committee. The president, Joao Havelange, wanted Japan to host, whereas UEFA leader – and Havelange’s sworn enemy – Lennart Johansson – wanted South Korea.
The solution? Let them share the honour, which they did.
From 2026 onwards, the World Cup is to be expanded to 48 teams, which brings with a myriad of logistical issues – not least the 104-game schedule. One answer to the problem is to have multiple countries on hosting duty, which will happen when the United States, Canada and Mexico share hosting duties at World Cup ’26 – the first time in the tournament’s history that three nations will welcome the action.
Shared hosting also spreads the financial outlay of getting the right infrastructure in place, so don’t be surprised if most World Cups going forward have more than one host nation.
Why is World Cup 2030 So Controversial?
The problem with having a World Cup in different continents – and hemispheres – is that the conditions will not be the same for all teams.
Indeed, a nation selected to play one of their opening games in the South American winter will then find themselves in a Mediterranean or North African summer a matter of days later – and with a nice slice of jetlag to boot.
That will also require plenty of long-distance travel too, which makes life very difficult for supporters wanting to follow their team without breaking the bank.
We can throw global warming and related issues into the mix too. FIFA have long been keen to express their green credentials, claiming – fraudulently – that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was carbon net zero. Can they claim the same for a tournament in which some teams will have to travel thousands of miles between games?
A FIFA spokesperson told the BBC that the governing body was ‘fully aware that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time’, before adding: ‘it requires each of us to take immediate and sustainable climate action.’
As is often the case with FIFA, their actions are usually in complete conflict with the hollow words that they trot out.