FIFA has taken the unprecedented decision to award the hosting rights of the 2030 World Cup to more than one continent and more than two countries.
The World Cup, which was first held in 1930 in Uruguay, was only jointly hosted once, in 2002 by Korea and Japan who are both in Asia.
To celebrate 100 years of the biggest single-sport event in the world, FIFA has not only awarded the hosting rights to three countries across two countries — Spain, Italy in Europe and Morocco in Africa — it has also awarded matches to Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay in South America.
FIFA said in a statement today that the matches in South America, one each in Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Asuncion, were part of the celebration to mark 100 years since the first World Cup in Uruguay.
The majority of the matches will be played in the three host countries: Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
The announcement has ended competition between two major bids, one led by Spain and Portugal and the other from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.
“Following extensive consultation with all confederations and given the importance of marking the centenary of the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Council took key decisions in relation to the bidding and hosting of the Centenary edition of the FIFA World Cup in 2030 during its meeting held by videoconference from the Home of FIFA,” the global governing body stated.
“In 2030, the FIFA World Cup will unite three continents and six countries, inviting the entire world to join in the celebration of the beautiful game, the Centenary and the FIFA World Cup itself.
“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 subject to the completion of a successful bidding process conducted by FIFA and a decision by the FIFA Congress in 2024.
“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 Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, where the first ever FIFA World Cup took place in 1930, as well as three World Cup matches in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay respectively.”
FIFA will make official the unique award of the hosting rights in 2024.
Of the six countries set to host the centenary World Cup, Italy (1934), Spain (1982), Uruguay (1930) and Argentina (1978) have organised it before while it will be the first time for Portugal and Morocco, the North Africans finally succeeding after several failed attempts.
“In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “The FIFA Council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the FIFA World Cup, whose first edition was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.”
FIFA also said it was inviting bids from the Asian and Oceania continental confederations for the 2034 World Cup.