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South American nations launch ‘Mundial Centenario’ bid

A South American bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup has been formally launched, with Uruguay set to take the lead on a four-nation effort that will also include Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Driven under the banners of ‘2030 Juntos’ and ‘Mundial Centenario’, the bid has been backed by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and intends to mark the centenary of the staging of the inaugural edition of the World Cup in Uruguay in 1930.

In November 2017, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay formalised a pact to launch a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup, with Chile later added to a four-nation bid in March 2019. Yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) official unveiling of the bid was hosted by the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

Although the framework of how a potential first World Cup staged across four nations would be held was not officially disclosed, CONMEBOL president, Alejandro Domínguez, and Uruguayan Sports Minister, Sebastián Bauzá, said around 14 stadia are likely to be used.

Uruguayan newspaper El Observador said two of these venues are set to be in Uruguay, with Estadio Centenario lined up to host the World Cup final. Paraguay will also have two stadiums and the remainder will reportedly be split between Argentina and Chile, with the former having the greater number.

Domínguez said in a speech during yesterday’s event: “We must honour the memory of those who believed in big and bet on organising a World Cup for the first time on this continent.

“This candidacy makes me very proud, because it teaches us to play as a team, and this was understood very well by the three countries that join Uruguay, which is the symbolic nation for being the cradle of what we know today as the biggest party in football.”

He added: “On its 100th anniversary, the World Cup must return to its original home, South America.”

 Bauzá said the four nations would present their bid to FIFA in May 2023, with world football’s governing body set to make a decision in 2024. “We have to put on a sustainable World Cup that leaves a legacy for these four countries,” said Bauza, according to the AFP news agency, adding that some international banks had expressed an interest in supporting the bid.

While Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup, Chile staged the 1962 World Cup and Argentina was the destination for the 1978 tournament. The World Cup was last held in South America when Brazil hosted the 2014 event and the South American bid for 2030 is likely to face competition from at least two rivals.

Morocco has repeatedly stated it will seek to return the tournament to Africa, while an Iberian bid is being run by Spain and Portugal. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) last month revealed a shortlist of 15 venues for its bid.

The 15 venues are: Balaídos (Vigo), Riazor (La Coruña), El Molinón Enrique Castro Quini (Gijón), San Mamés (Bilbao), Anoeta (San Sebastián), La Romareda (Zaragoza), Camp Nou (Barcelona), RCDE Stadium (Cornellá-El Prat), Santiago Bernabéu and Wanda Metropolitano (both Madrid), Nuevo Mestalla (Valencia), Nueva Condomina (Murcia), La Cartuja (Sevilla-Santiponce), La Rosaleda (Malaga), and Gran Canaria (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria).

Eleven venues in Spain will ultimately be used if the joint bid is successful. A further three stadiums will be used in Portugal.

Image: AUF