Friday, July 5, 2013

FIFA wants Uruguay and Argentina to host 2030 World Cup

The ever-changing policies of the governing body of global soccer, FIFA have seen Soccer World Cup´s allocated in a variety of ways. Before Mexico hosted the tournament in 1970 every World Cup had been hosted in either South America or Europe. It was the ninth FIFA World Cup and was played forty years after the first was hosted by Uruguay in 1930. Despite Mexico´s status as a Latin American country taking the tournament to Mexico was a fundamental change after South America had hosted three tournaments and Europe five up until that point in time. Four tournaments later Mexico hosted for a second time and did so after Germany, Argentina and Spain had all hosted for the first time. 

Mexico´s hosting in 1986 marked the first time that a previous host had been allocated the tournament for a second time. It was followed in 1990 by Italy hosting again and in 1998, 2006 and 2014 with France, Germany and Brazil all being given a second FIFA World Cup. In retrospect 1986 was the turning point in the history of the hosting of the FIFA World Cup. While it was one year before the inaugural Rugby World Cup it was also the start of fundamental changes as rather than a South American nation hosting the continent would have to wait until 2014. Between Argentina 1978 and Brazil 2014 there were six tournaments with three in Europe, one in Asia, one in Africa and one in North America.

USA 1994 remains the highest attended tournament of all time and led the way for changes. Indeed after South Africa lost out to Germany for the right to host the 2006 tournament FIFA returned to a rotational format. This time though it would be on a global scale and not merely used to alternate between Europe and South America. While the first forty years were only in these two regions the tournament´s did not come without controversy with Argentina and Uruguay boycotting the 1938 World Cup in France due to them being of the view that it was South America´s turn after Italy had hosted in 1934. As such Brazil was the only  South America participant with Cuba being the other from the Western hemisphere.

South Africa won the right to host in 2010 under a changed process. To avoid controversy similar to that which had seen voting corruption in Germany´s favor Africa was guaranteed the tournament and South Africa won the bidding process after defeating Morocco and Egypt. Brazil won the right to host in 2014 after it was South America´s turn to host but Brazil was the only official candidate. Changes then saw an end to the rotational policy leading to Russia and Qatar defeating three rival bidders each in winning the right to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup´s. 

FIFA laws say that neither Europe nor Asia can host the 2026 FIFA World Cup due to there being a mandatory gap of at least two tournaments per region. As such 2026 will go to one of Africa, Oceania, North America or South America. So far there has been interest shown by Canada, Egypt Mexico, Morocco, the USA and Venezuela. Suggestions have also been made about Australia´s interest but with it playing in Asia and not Oceania it would be out of the running. Also unlikely are both Egypt and Morocco. The chances of having Qatar 2022 followed by another Arab hosted tournament is comparable to two Tri Nations countries hosting consecutive Rugby World Cup´s. As such it is highly likely that North America will host in 2026 and either South America or Europe in 2030. 

Should the 2030 FIFA World Cup return to South America then it would have ramifications for the possibility of Argentina hosting Rugby World Cup 2023. The reason being that 2030 will mark 100 years sicne the first tournament. FIFA has lent its support to the possibility and wants Argentina and Uruguay to jointly stage the tournament. The governing bodies of Argentina and Uruguay - the AFA and the AUF have already signed an agreement to bid together. With their agreement combined with FIFA support Argentina and Uruguay are therefore all but assured of hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup. 

It would be the second co-hosted event after Japan and South Korea acted together in 2002 and like that event there would be a need to build a host of new stadiums. FIFA´s requriement of a venue seating 80,000 for the final means either Buenos Aires or Montevideo needs a new venue. Argentina´s hosting of the 2011 Copa América featured eight stadiums while Uruguay utilized four in hosting the same tournament in 1995. Although the combined venues would give the tournament enough stadiums many are below the minimum requirement of 40,000 - Maldonado, Paysandú and Rivera in Uruguay and Jujuy, Salta and San Juan in Argentina. Could Buenos Aires have a new super stadium? If so then it could certainly be ready well in advance enabling Argentina to have an equivalent of the Stade de France or Stadium Australia to open and close the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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