Morocco to replace Ukraine in 2030 FIFA World Cup bid

Ukraine is set to be dropped from Spain and Portugal’s bid for the men’s 2030 FIFA World Cup, with Moroc­co instead joining as a third country.

Having failed in a bid for the controversial 2018 and 2022 editions of the World Cup, Spain and Portugal announced their intention to bid again in 2020, with Ukraine last year joining what was billed as European bid.

It was claimed that the addition of Ukraine, almost 3,000 kilometres north-east of Spain, would “project a message of unity, solidarity and generosity”.

Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia and governance concerns at the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) have hampered its hopes of being a co-host for the 2030 World Cup.

The Athletic has reported that North African nation, Mo­rocco, is due to replace Ukraine in the Iberian bid.

In contrast to the distance between Ukraine and the other two proposed host nations, Morocco is separated from Spain only by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar.

Morocco had considered a bid for the 2030 World Cup, potentially with Tunisia and Algeria.

It has made five unsuccessful bids to host the tournament, dating back to the 1994 edition.

Ukraine co-hosted the men’s UEFA European Champion­ship with Poland in 2012, but semi-final venue at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk has been unused since May 2014 because, of the conflict with Russia in the east of the country.

It also staged the men’s UEFA Champions League final in 2018 at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex in Kyiv.

There is no end in sight to the war which escalated following a full-scale invasion in February last year, prompting Russian teams to be removed from FIFA and UEFA competitions in line with the International Olympic Committee’s recommen­dations.

There are also issues at the UAF, whose President,Andriy Pavelko, was arrested in November last year for allegedly mis­using international aid funds. –

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