Morocco, Spain and Portugal have been named hosts of the 2030 football World Cup, while Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will host the opening matches to mark the tournament’s centenary, world football body FIFA said on Wednesday.
The joint bid from Morocco, Portugal and Spain was the sole candidate to host the tournament. FIFA were due to announce the hosts next year.
The inaugural World Cup in 1930 was held in Uruguay and won by the host. Spain has been awarded the World Cup weeks after its disgraced former chief Luis Rubiales was forced to step down for alleged sexual assault at the Women’s World Cup.
Wednesday’s decision by FIFA marks the first time the World Cup will be staged across three continents and six countries.
“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,” FIFA said in a statement.
“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 the country’s capital, Montevideo... as well as three World Cup matches in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay respectively.”
The 2022 World Cup was held in Qatar. Argentina is the defending champion.
“In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
“The FIFA Council... 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.
“As a result, a celebration will take place in South America and three South American countries - Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay - will organise one match each of the FIFA World Cup 2030.”
Infantino said the first of these three matches would be played at Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario, where the first World Cup took place in 1930.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI welcomed FIFA’s decision. The African nation stunned the world in Qatar last year when they reached the semifinals.
“His Majesty King Mohammed VI... has the great pleasure of announcing to the Moroccan people that the FIFA Council has unanimously selected the Morocco-Spain-Portugal bid as the sole candidate to organise the 2030 football World Cup,” Morocco’s Royal Office said in a statement.
FIFA also said that the 2034 World Cup will be held in the Asia or Oceania region, with member associations from those territories invited to bid to host the tournament.
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