Ukraine will be incorporated into Spain and Portugal’s joint bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup, it was confirmed today (Wednesday).
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) came together to announce the news at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The RFEF said in a statement: “The proposal has the unconditional support of UEFA in a global project and a transformer of European football in an exceptional situation.
“Luis Rubiales and Fernando Gomes, top leaders of the RFEF and the FPF, understand that there is nothing better than a World Cup to strongly transmit a message that will serve as a source of inspiration in the future.
“With the full support of (UEFA president) Aleksander Ceferin, the Iberian bid incorporates the federation chaired by Andriy Pavelko in order to build bridges and project a message of unity, solidarity and generosity from all of European football.
“The candidacy strengthens ties with Europe by generating hope and providing reconstruction tools to the Ukrainian people.”
The RFEF in July revealed a shortlist of 15 Spanish venues that are seeking to stage matches during the 2030 World Cup. At the time it was stated that 11 venues in Spain will ultimately be used if the joint bid is successful. A further three stadiums will be used in Portugal.
Today’s announcement stated that this plan will not be altered, despite the introduction of Ukraine. The FPF said the terms of Ukraine’s entry to the candidacy will be “discussed and defined in due course”.
The requirements for bids for the 2030 World Cup have not yet been published by FIFA, but the RFEF has delivered documentation to Spanish venues that have shown an interest in hosting. An evaluation process is set to run until next November.
The RFEF added: “The candidacy of Spain, Portugal and Ukraine has the approval of both the Government and the Head of State; and will meet all delivery deadlines in accordance with FIFA’s bid book. We trust that the world football family will embrace and support this initiative.”
Rubiales stated at today’s presentation: “This candidacy has many things to win: history, wonderful stadiums, gastronomy, tourism… today we take another step. Together we represent the power of transformation that football has in society. We believe that this candidacy, now, is much better.
“I am convinced that in my country, in Spain, both the football family and society will be proud of the important legacy that this candidacy leaves behind for history. If football changes people’s lives, it must also be capable of improving the world.”
The Iberian bid had already been facing strong competition for the 2030 World Cup, chiefly in the form of a South American proposal. The South American bid was formally launched in August, 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.
Reports last month suggested that Saudi Arabia is preparing a ‘tri-continental’ bid with Egypt and Greece to host the World Cup in 2030.