In a move that’s been coming for some months, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay officially announced their bid to host the 2030 World Cup on Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentina and Uruguay have been indicating a joint bid since July and Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez wore jerseys promoting the bid before recent World Cup qualifiers. Paraguay only recently hitched onto the bid process.
Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and has a strong claim that it should host the centennial event 100 years later. Argentina and Paraguay joining the process just provides more top-quality stadiums, though perhaps a few more logistical issues to sort out.
Both Argentina and Uruguay have hosted before to varying degrees of success while Paraguay has not. Argentina hosted in 1978 and won the trophy while the country was ruled by the iron fist of Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Vileda. Messi will be 42 at the start of the 2030 World Cup and probably still searching for his first international trophy.
The three South American nations will face competition. European countries will be eligible to bid for hosting rights for the first time following Russia’s 2018 competition under FIFA rotation rules. England is expected to get the nod from UEFA either as a solo bid or a joint bid with another country or two.
Then there’s China, which has never hosted a World Cup despite being the most populous country on the planet but could try to get the 2030 event. While football in China is nowhere near the level of the South American countries or England, an immense amount of money is being poured into the game and the Chinese Super League is the fifth-most attended soccer league in the world, ahead of Serie A and Ligue 1.
The 2018 World Cup will of course be in Russia followed by Qatar in 2022, both awarded under somewhat nefarious circumstances. That resulted in a major shakeup at FIFA and the soccer’s governing body will be keen to make the next World Cup bid processes as open and fair as possible.
A joint bid between the U.S., Mexico and Canada is the frontrunner to host the 2026 World Cup. The only country bidding against the North American nations is Morocco. The African nation (and its lovely cats) submitted a late bid, but few expect them to win. Then again, no one expected Qatar to beat the U.S. for 2022.