Portugal chooses venues for 2030 World Cup

António Laranjo speaking at the media event in Lisbon

Featured image credit: YallaVamos 2030

Portugal’s role in the proposed co-hosting of the 2030 FIFA World Cup is set to be limited to the Estádio José Alvalade, Estádio da Luz and Estádio do Dragão, with no major stadium investment planned.

The news was disclosed yesterday (Tuesday) at a media event held at the headquarters of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) in Lisbon, as senior representatives of the bid committee provided insight on the proposed three-way staging of the tournament by Portugal, along with Spain and Morocco.

The 2030 World Cup is set to take place in six countries spanning three continents after FIFA confirmed in October that the bulk of games will be held in Morocco, Portugal and Spain, with Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay to host “celebratory” matches during the tournament.

FIFA confirmed that the joint proposal from Morocco, Portugal and Spain is the sole candidate to host the 2030 World Cup, however the bid still needs to go through the traditional process of allocating hosts for the tournament.

Regarding stadiums in the three countries to be included in the final bid, studies and assessment work by technical teams is ongoing. However, in his opening speech yesterday, FPF president, Fernando Gomes, announced which venues will host games in Portugal.

The Estádio José Alvalade, Estádio da Luz and Estádio do Dragão – the respective homes of Primeira Liga clubs Sporting, Benfica and FC Porto – have been chosen. Coordinator of the candidacy committee, António Laranjo, who also served as president of the organising committee for Portugal’s staging of UEFA Euro 2004, spelled out the thinking behind the venue strategy.

He said: “Portugal will not make investments to increase stadium capacity, which means it will not host the final. As they will not host the final, there is great hope of hosting the semi-finals. The two countries that do not host the final must host the semi-final. Therefore, for now, we can only say that Portugal has a well-founded expectation of hosting a semi-final.”

Laranjo maintained that “Portugal will not make large investments in its stadiums”. However, he added that “there will be improvements that each of the clubs (Sporting, Benfica and Porto) will make in the coming years”.

Laranjo continued: “We will have 101 games in Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The definition of games and the type of games is not our concern yet. We are doing more technical work at this point. This task is not just up to us, we work together with FIFA. In the candidacy dossier we will give an overview of what we think.

“Portugal, Morocco and Spain are three countries that have very good infrastructure, be it sports, hospitals, accessibility or mobility. This committee put itself in the shoes of the fans and we made trips to Spain and Morocco by TGV, we crossed the two continents by ferry, used the metro, all the infrastructure that will be at the service of the fan.”

The bid’s slogan, ‘YallaVamos’, representing the goal to proactively grow the game across the globe, was also unveiled yesterday, alongside ambassadors for the bid.

In line with FIFA bidding regulations, the next step of the process comes with the formal bid submission in July. The final decision for the host of the 2030 World Cup is due to be made by a vote of the FIFA Congress in the fourth quarter of the year.

A consortium led by local firm Oualalou + Choi, and including Populous, last week emerged victorious in a design competition for the Grand Stade de Casablanca, which is intended to be the focal point of Morocco’s co-hosting of the World Cup.

The selection by the National Agency for Public Facilities (ANEP), drew to a close a process that had initially seen a long list of 12 proposals selected. In December, it was announced that this field had been whittled down to a shortlist of seven bidders.

Morocco is planning on building the 115,000-seat Grand Stade de Casablanca in Benslimane, around 38km from Casablanca.