World Cup 2030 is set to be held in six countries across three continents, while Saudi Arabia could be set to host the 2034 edition of the tournament.
Spain, Portugal and Morocco are on course to co-host the 2030 edition of the men’s tournament, with three South American nations – Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay – staging the opening matches to mark the tournament’s centenary.
Montevideo in Uruguay, the city which hosted the first World Cup finals match in 1930, is poised to stage the opening match in seven years’ time with games in Argentina and Paraguay to follow.
The rest of the 48-team tournament will then move to north Africa and Europe, under a proposal from UEFA, the Confederation of African Football and South American confederation CONMEBOL which was accepted by the FIFA council at a meeting on Wednesday.
The hosting arrangement is now subject to formal approval by FIFA’s congress.
Uruguay’s selection for 2030 is in recognition of their role as hosts and winners of the opening tournament, Argentina’s as runners-up in that tournament and Paraguay’s as the traditional home of CONMEBOL.
Those countries will qualify automatically for the finals and play their opening games on home soil.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino welcomed the news, saying: “In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting.
“In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents – Africa, Europe and South America – six countries – Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay – welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup.”
President of CONMEBOL Alejandro Dominguez said: “We aimed high and dreamed big.
“The 2030 Centenario World Cup starts where it all began. The host of the opening matches of the Centenario World Cup will be Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.”
However, the Football Supporters Europe group was deeply unimpressed by the arrangement.
It posted on X: “FIFA continues its cycle of destruction against the greatest tournament on earth.
“Horrendous for supporters, disregards the environment and rolls the red carpet out to a host for 2034 with an appalling human rights record. It’s the end of the World Cup as we know it.”
The awarding of the 2026 finals to the United States, Canada and Mexico followed by this proposed award to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay means that only bids from the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation will be considered for the 2034 finals.
That appears to give Saudi Arabia, who were initially rumoured to be interested in bidding for 2030, a very strong chance of hosting, although Australia may enter the running too, after they successfully co-hosted the Women’s World Cup alongside New Zealand earlier this year.
Later on Wednesday, it was confirmed Saudi Arabia would bid for the showpiece tournament in 2034.
Saudi Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said in a statement via the Saudi Press Agency: “Hosting a FIFA World Cup in 2034 would help us achieve our dream of becoming a leading nation in world sport and would mark a significant milestone in the country’s transformation.
“As an emerging and welcoming home for all sports, we believe that hosting a FIFA World Cup is a natural next step in our football journey.”