World Cup 2030 to be held across 3 continents

 The 2030 FIFA World Cup will be held across six countries in three continents, FIFA has confirmed.

Spain, Portugal and Morocco have been named as the co-hosts, with the opening three matches taking place in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

The opening matches in South America are to mark the World Cup’s centenary as it will be 100 years since the inaugural tourna­ment in Montevideo.

The decision is set to be ratified at a FIFA congress next year.

FIFA also confirmed only bids from countries from the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation will be considered for the 2034 finals.

Following that decision, Saudi Arabia announced it would be bidding to host the tournament in 2034 for the first time.

The deadline for prospective hosts to submit confirmations of interest is 31 October.

FIFA’s decision to host the 2030 tournament across multiple continents has drawn criticism, with one supporter’s body accusing football’s world governing body of engaging in a “cycle of destruction against the greatest tournament on Earth”.

Montevideo in Uruguay, the city which hosted the first World Cup match in 1930, is poised to stage the opening game in 2030 with matches in Argentina and Paraguay to follow.

The rest of the 48-team tour­nament will then move to north Africa and Europe.

The change of hemispheres means World Cup teams could find themselves playing in two different seasons at the same tournament.

If the 2030 proposal is ap­proved, Morocco would become only the second African nation to host a World Cup, after South Africa in 2010.

Spain last hosted the World Cup in 1982, with Italy winning the tournament for the third time, while Portugal has never hosted the tournament, but for Euro 2004 which was held there.

As in previous World Cups, Uru­guay, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Portugal and Morocco will all qual­ify automatically as co-hosts.

FIFA’s decision to host the tour­nament across multiple continents comes after the governing body ‘made false statements’ about the reduced environmental impact of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA said the tournament would be the first “fully carbon-neutral World Cup” but could not provide proof that the claims were accu­rate.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to bid for the 2034 World Cup is in line with its initiative to become a global leader in sport after hosting a num­ber of events in the country since 2018, involving football, Formula 1, golf and boxing.

FIFA also announced Russia will be readmitted to its under-17 com­petitions for the first time since the country’s invasion of Ukraine 19 months ago. —BBC

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