FIFA World Cup 2030 to be hosted in Africa, Europe and South America

In a groundbreaking decision, the 2030 World Cup will be hosted across three continents, with Morocco, Portugal, and Spain securing the rights to host the 48-team tournament. Additionally, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay have been entrusted with hosting the opening three matches of this historic event.

This announcement, which took many seasoned FIFA observers by surprise, marks a significant departure from tradition, as the 2030 World Cup will see teams competing in six different countries, all of which will automatically qualify for the tournament. Never before has the World Cup been played on more than one continent, and the proposal to have matches spanning thousands of miles has raised concerns among climate advocacy groups.

Furthermore, the timing of this decision seems to pave the way for Saudi Arabia to host the World Cup in 2034. In response, Saudi Arabia swiftly unveiled its bid for the 2034 tournament. Previously, Saudi Arabia had been expected to lead a joint bid with Greece and Egypt for the 2030 event, but they withdrew from that race earlier this year. Now, with FIFA inviting bids from Asia and Oceania for the 2034 World Cup, the Saudi Football Federation has declared its intention to bid as the sole host.

FIFA’s decision on the ambitious 2030 proposal was reached during a virtual meeting of its council on Wednesday. It will require confirmation through a vote by all 211 FIFA members in the coming months of the next year. FIFA President Gianni Infantino described the Morocco, Portugal, and Spain bid as “a powerful message of peace, tolerance, and inclusivity” in a divided world.

While the UEFA/CAF bid was considered the favorite for the 2030 World Cup, FIFA’s commitment to rotating World Cups among confederations played a crucial role in this decision. Conmebol, the South American confederation, had not hosted a World Cup since 2014 and sought to commemorate the centenary of the inaugural World Cup held in Uruguay in 1930. The first match of the 2030 tournament is scheduled to take place at the Estádio Centenário in Montevideo, the same venue as the inaugural World Cup.

It is expected that Saudi Arabia will face competition for the 2034 World Cup, with Australia expressing interest, possibly alongside Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country. China, which once aimed to host the World Cup by 2030, may also put forth a proposal. However, with significant investments in football through its Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia appears to be in a favorable position for securing the hosting rights.