(ATR) Another triple bid for a football World Cup? From the Americas, again? Yes, but this time with a distinct Spanish flavor.
Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay want to host the centenary World Cup in 2030 and thus far they have agreed on many things including the 12 cities that would participate in it.
The Argentine Football Association said on Monday the plan would grant eight cities to Argentina and two each for Paraguay and Uruguay, although the exact urban centers were not disclosed.
The bidding to host the 2030 tournament is not due to open for another four years, but the three South American countries are taking note of what their colleagues in the North are doing with the joint candidacy by the United States, Mexico and Canada to organize the 2026 World Cup.
Uruguay staged the first World Cup in 1930 but that tournament consisted of only 18 matches. In 2030 the amount of matches will become 80 in a 48-team event, making it far more difficult for a single nation to host the World Cup alone. Thus Uruguay, a nation of less than 3.5 million people, joined forces first with Argentina and then Paraguay.
The three Mercosur countries have the early support of some of football’s biggest names: Lionel Messi and Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez have already publicly backed the plan. During a recent Argentina-Spain friendly, Messi was expected to wear a bracelet that read "2030 together," but due to an injury, the Argentine superstar did not play and the message was carried instead by Javier Mascherano.
"At all times we found (Messi) willing to help us spread the word about the possibility that the three countries organize the World Cup," Argentina's Sport Secretary Carlos Mac Allister said. "It's very important for us to feel that we have the support of players and that it is completely unattached from any political connotation."
Aside from the football stars, the triple Uruguay-Argentina-Paraguay candidacy for 2030 has the support of the heads of state of the three countries, all of whom were presidents of a football club before leading their country.
Argentina’s Mauricio Macri used to head Boca Juniors, the country’s most successful club; Tabare Vazquez was in charge at Uruguay’s Atletico Progresso; while Paraguayan Horacio Cartes was once the boss at Club Libertad.
So far, the co-organizers of the South American bid have not said how much the tournament would cost if they were to win. But unlike the world-class stadiums already in place in North America, it is very unlikely that any of the present football arenas in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay would pass the latest test of readiness set by FIFA to host a World Cup.
"Today, we can't say what the final costs will be to each of our countries, but it cannot be measured only in the building of infrastructure," Uruguay Sports Secretary Fernando Caceres said.
No other bids have been announced for the 2030 tournament and under FIFA rules, the 2030 World Cup cannot be held in Asia (AFC) as Asian Football Confederation members are excluded from the bidding following the selection of Qatar in 2022. Regardless, many analysts predict China will present its candidacy while the Europeans are already backing a possible British bid for the 2030 event.
Before that, the decision on the host of the 2026 World Cup will be taken on June 13 in Moscow. Aside from the North American joint bid, Morocco is also trying to organize the event.
Homepage photo is public domain.
Written by Javier Monne
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