The 2030 men’s soccer World Cup is set to feature games in six countries on three continents in a unique format that will allow the tournament to celebrate its 100th anniversary in Uruguay.
FIFA reached an agreement between soccer’s continental leaders to accept a bid spearheaded by co-hosts Spain, Portugal and Morocco as the only candidate for the hosting rights. The agreement also includes staging games in South American countries Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, which had earlier promoted a rival co-hosting bid.
Those three countries will each host one match to start the tournament, which allows FIFA to stage the opening game in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, where the Centenario Stadium hosted the inaugural 1930 World Cup final.
The bid had started out as a joint venture between Spain and Portugal before expanding to include Morocco, in northern Africa, earlier this year.
All six host nations will get automatic entry to the 48-team tournament, FIFA said. It is the first time the World Cup will be played on more than one continent.
“The centennial World Cup could not be far from South America, where everything began,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of South American soccer body CONMEBOL. “The 2030 World Cup will be played in three continents.”
The consensus reached by the continental soccer bodies also allowed FIFA to open bidding for the 2034 World Cup, with only member federations from Asia and Oceania eligible to bid for the hosting rights.
The 2030 deal was clinched six weeks after the former president of Spain’s soccer federation became an international embarrassment for his behavior at the Women’s World Cup final.