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If World Cup host hosting can be compared to poker, it appears one bid for the 2030 event has a new ace up its sleeve.
Portugal and Spain, who had teamed up as a host, have announced they will add Ukraine to their bid. According to the Associated Press, the revitalized bid, which has been in the works for more than three years, was announced at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
Are they geographically close? Nope; in fact, they are several thousand miles apart and don’t even share a border. But FIFA has been looking kindly on solidarity among nations in host bids – and this one has it in spades.
Ukraine co-hosted the 2012 European Championship in four stadiums, including in Donetsk and Kharkiv – places that have lately been under occupation or bombardment since Russia invaded the country earlier this year.
Al Jazeera notes, “Although Ukraine’s national team are playing their home matches in Poland and the domestic league, which restarted successfully in August, is taking place behind closed doors there is confidence that any security concerns will be far less pronounced in eight years’ time. Ukraine co-hosted Euro 2012 with Poland and has shown it can stage large-scale events in peacetime.”
It’s a bit early to start taking victory laps with the yellow and blue flag, however. Other bidders at the table are expected to have formidable presentations; these include the following:
South America: The Guardian notes that Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile will team up to make a play for the 2030 World Cup, in part to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first tournament, which was held in Uruguay in 1930.
Other contenders, of course, have either indicated interest or are actively lobbying for inclusion; according to Sky Sports, these are:
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece. A multi-nation bid is expected from this group, none of which has previously hosted the World Cup.
Morocco announced (all the way back in 2018) that it was interested in hosting the 2030 World Cup, with a possible joint bid with fellow African members Tunisia and Algeria on the cards. Morocco most recently failed to win FIFA's approval to host the World Cup in 2026, but it also had failed bids in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010. (Side note: Ouch).
Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have also indicated interest in hosting in 2030. Sky Sports says that both Israel and the UAE have hosted editions of the Asia Cup over the past 60 years.
Australia: Here’s an interesting one. In 2015, there were rumblings of New Zealand and Australia making a play for the World Cup. However, it was announced later that talks were underway over an Australia-Indonesia joint-bid instead. (Stay tuned on this).
England: Sky Sports notes, “Both Theresa May and Boris Johnson expressed a desire as Prime Minister to put forward England as a host nation for the 2030 World Cup. However, it was announced in February of this year that England would be part of a UK and Ireland joint bid for the 2028 European Championships. The current UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has, however, suggested that England will be aiming to host the 2027 Women's World Cup, after the successful European Championships success last summer.”
AP states that while FIFA has given no formal timetable to choose a host for the 48-team tournament in 2030, it has promised a decision in 2024, something that could coincide with the meeting of the FIFA Congress.
The next World Cup begins in November.