FIFA confirms the 2030 World Cup will span six countries on three continents. Spain, Portugal, and Morocco will co-host, with the opening three matches starting in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. These South American matches mark the centenary since Montevideo’s inaugural tournament.
A FIFA congress will ratify the decision next year. FIFA will consider bids only from the Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Football Confederation for the 2034 finals. Saudi Arabia plans to host the tournament for the first time, and the deadline for prospective hosts to confirm interest is October 31.
FIFA’s decision to host across multiple continents faces criticism for environmental and human rights concerns. FIFA President Gianni Infantino highlights unity and the centenary celebration. Montevideo in Uruguay, where the first match was played in 1930, hosts the 2030 opening game, followed by Argentina and Paraguay. The rest of the 48-team tournament moves to North Africa and Europe. The hemisphere shift could lead to playing in different seasons.
If approved, Morocco would be the second African nation to host after South Africa in 2010. Spain joins as co-host, with Portugal hosting for the first time, following Euro 2004. Six countries automatically qualify as co-hosts.
FIFA’s environmental promises face scrutiny after doubts about the 2022 World Cup’s carbon neutrality. Critics question the sustainability of a multi-continent World Cup. Saudi Arabia’s 2034 bid aligns with its sports initiatives but faces sportswashing accusations. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dismisses these concerns. Saudi Arabia’s Olympic chief sees the bid as a natural step.
Despite the AFC supporting Saudi Arabia, Football Australia may explore a bid for the 2034 tournament. FIFA also readmits Russia to its under-17 competitions following suspension due to the Ukraine invasion. Teams will play as the “Football Union of Russia” without the flag or anthem, wearing neutral kits.
Uefa’s decision is criticized by the English Football Association, but Uefa defends it, emphasizing peace and hope in football.