Hosting the world’s largest sporting event is an esteemed honor sought by many nations. It not only brings in tourism, fame, and excitement, but also provides an opportunity to showcase the rich culture and hospitality of the host country. Moreover, automatic qualification for the tournament is granted to the host nation, a significant bonus. South Africa in 2010 and Qatar in 2022 serve as prime examples, where these nations might not have qualified otherwise.
As of now, there are three confirmed bids vying to host the 2030 World Cup. So, who are the contenders?
- Ukraine, Spain, and Portugal: Ukraine, under the approval of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will join Spain and Portugal in their bid to co-host the 2030 World Cup. An official announcement of this collaboration is scheduled for Wednesday. If accepted, Ukraine, despite its current challenges, is set to host one of the tournament’s groups. This inclusion adds a fresh dimension to the joint bid.While Ukraine’s national team plays its home games in Poland, and the domestic league operates behind closed doors, there is optimism that security concerns will diminish over the next eight years. Having previously co-hosted the 2012 Euros with Poland, Ukraine has demonstrated its capacity to organize significant events even during times of stability.Competition for this UEFA-backed bid will come from groups including Egypt, Greece, Saudi Arabia, and a South American consortium of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile. Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA’s president, expressed confidence that Spain and Portugal will present a compelling offer.According to reports from The Times, Ukraine is slated to host one World Cup group throughout the competition.
- Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay: This four-country proposal, unveiled in August, aims to bring the World Cup back to South America. While all nations except Paraguay have previously hosted the tournament, it hasn’t occurred since the 1970s. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the last hosted in the continent.Uruguay, due to its limited infrastructure, would not be able to host the entire tournament. As a result, this bid is a joint effort among the four countries. The bulk of the action will take place in Argentina.The historical significance of these nations adds weight to their bid, as they aim to secure the 2030 World Cup. The FIFA Congress’s vote in November 2024 will be a pivotal moment.
- Greece, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt: Reports from The Times of London indicate that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Greece are preparing a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup. Talks at the highest governmental levels suggest an imminent announcement. If accepted, the tournament would likely be held in the winter to avoid the scorching temperatures of June and July, mirroring the approach taken in Qatar this year.Saudi Arabia is expected to play a central role, possibly financing the infrastructure needs of the other two nations. Since 2017, the nation has actively pursued hosting various sporting events.
Other potential bids include Morocco’s proposal, potentially in collaboration with neighboring African countries Tunisia and Algeria, and Israel’s inter-confederation bid, potentially involving Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Morocco’s previous attempts to host the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010 were unsuccessful. Additionally, the Asia Cup has been hosted in Israel and the United Arab Emirates over the past six decades.