FIFA will organize the 2030 World Cup on three continents | ET REALITY

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The soccer World Cup will be held in six countries on three continents for its centenary edition in 2030, an unexpected and complex alteration to its traditional format that was approved Wednesday at a meeting of FIFA’s governing council.

In this unusual arrangement, three South American countries (Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) will each host a single home opener and then join the rest of the field for the rest of the tournament, which will take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

The six countries had initially joined forces regionally in separate bids for hosting rights to the centenary World Cup, a month-long global football festival that produces billions of dollars in revenue for FIFA each four years.

However, the South American nations’ bid had long been seen as unrelated to the three-nation bid of Spain, Portugal and Morocco, which was officially declared the sole bidder for 2030 on Wednesday. But under the new agreement to recognize the tournament’s centenary, each nation will have a turn as host.

“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,” FIFA said in a statement after the meeting.

“The FIFA Council unanimously agreed that the only bid will be the combined bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain, which will host the event in 2030 and automatically qualify.”

By sharing the 2030 tournament between three continents, FIFA also significantly reduced the number of nations eligible to bid for the 2034 event. That opened the door for Saudi Arabia, a nation that has made no secret of its desire to host, to win. the rights when that host is selected next year.

The first World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, when the championship was a compact 13-team championship held over two and a half weeks in a single city, the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. It has since grown to become one of the most valuable and most-watched sporting events in the world, a financial behemoth that FIFA projects will produce record revenues of at least $11 billion over its current four-year cycle, nearly double the what he won in the last one.

The complexity and size of the World Cup has grown steadily in recent decades, and the next edition, in 2026, will expand by 12 teams to 48 in total, making it the largest in history. That size, and FIFA’s demanding requirements for candidate countries and stadiums, mean that few nations are now capable of hosting the event on their own.

The 2026 tournament will be held primarily in the United States, but games will also be held in Mexico and Canada – the first time the tournament will be played in three countries. The complexities of hosting that event have yet to be resolved, and officials are still grappling with a wide range of complications, ranging from visa-free travel for spectators to taxes.

Speculation that FIFA was preparing to make a surprise announcement was suggested by South American football chief Alejandro Dominguez, vice president of FIFA, who took to social media as the meeting was taking place to posts a video of himself dancingsuggesting in Spanish that “something global is coming for all football fans.”

Then Domínguez broke the news in a post on Xthe platform formerly known as Twitter, before FIFA had the opportunity to make its announcement.

“We believed big,” Domínguez wrote in Spanish. “The 2030 Centennial World Cup begins where it all began.”

Bringing the tournament to all six countries allows FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, to avoid some difficult political decisions, and could allow Infantino to hand the next tournament to a trusted ally. In FIFA’s statement announcing plans for 2030, it said only teams from Asia and Oceania would be able to bid in 2034, creating an opportunity for one of its closest sponsors, Saudi Arabia, to secure a tournament and a global stage that greed.

An hour after FIFA’s announcement, the Saudi press agency had published a statement from the kingdom’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, expressing his country’s interest in hosting in 2034, and the president of the Asian football confederation had supported the effort. , stating that “the entire Asian football family will remain united to support the momentous initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

FIFA said the bid for the 2034 World Cup would conclude with a vote at a meeting of its 211 member countries next year, short-circuiting a process that was expected to conclude in 2027 or 2028. The shorter timeline reduces time for other nations . considering applying for the tournament to put together coherent plans.

Infantino, elected to FIFA’s top job in 2016, will now have the chance to make his mark on at least two more World Cups, including the 2034 event, which will take place after his last term is supposed to have ended. .

His legacy already includes major changes to the World Cup, with 48 teams, resulting in a change to the format of the competition, as well as paving the way for more than two countries to co-host. Infantino had wanted to organize the World Cup every two years, but that effort ended amid bitter opposition from European soccer officials as well as major clubs and fans.

Fan groups were quick to oppose plans for the 2030 multi-continental World Cup on Wednesday.

“FIFA continues its cycle of destruction against the biggest tournament in the world,” a group called Football Supporters Europe posted on human rights situation. record. “It is the end of the World Cup as we know it.”

The 2030 championship will now begin with an opening ceremony at Uruguay’s Estadio Centenario, site of the 1930 final, and at stadiums in Buenos Aires and Asunción, Paraguay.

The three nations and their opponents would have to travel to Spain, Portugal or Morocco to continue the rest of the tournament.

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