Juntos 2030: South American countries seek first World Cup hosted by four nations

Four South American countries on Tuesday launched an unprecedented joint bid to host the centenary 2030 World Cup with the hope of bringing the global showpiece back to its first home.

"We are in this iconic place where history began," said Alejandro Dominguez, Paraguayan president of Conmebol, South American soccer's governing body, from the Centenario stadium in Montevideo, where the first World Cup final was held in 1930.

Uruguay won that final, beating Argentina 4-2, but now its neighbors have joined together -- alongside Paraguay and Chile -- to bid for the right to host the 2030 global showpiece under the "Juntos 2030" (Together 2030) slogan.

"This is not the project of a government but the dream of a whole continent," added Dominguez. "There will be other World Cups but 100 years will be celebrated only once."

The idea of a joint South American bid for the 2030 tournament was first mooted by Uruguay and Argentina in 2017 and two years later the four potential hosts had been established. But it has taken until now for them to make their bid official.

The romantic idea of bringing the tournament back to its first home was central to the plans of the authorities from the four countries present at Tuesday's launch.

The idea of a World Cup was "thought up, analyzed and put into practice here in Uruguay almost 100 years ago," said Ignacio Alonso, president of the Uruguayan soccer federation. "It became the greatest sporting festival in the world," he said, praising the "guts, courage, intelligence and effort" that went into putting on the first tournament.

Dominguez, though, reminded those present that the symbolic argument would not be enough.

"We cannot rely only on the sentimental, we have to play our part and be in condition" to host the World Cup.

Uruguay's sports minister, Sebastian Bauza, said the four countries would present their bid to FIFA in May 2023, with the world governing body due to make its decision in 2024.

"We have to put on a sustainable World Cup that leaves a legacy for these four countries," said Bauza, adding that some international banks had expressed an interest in supporting the bid.

The joint South American bid will likely come up against at least two other proposals.

Spain and Portugal have officially submitted a joint bid, while Morocco have repeatedly insisted it will bid to become only the second ever African country to host the finals.

The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland decided in February to abandon a joint bid that would have seen five FIFA member federations hosting the tournament. There has also been tentative talk of an Israeli bid alongside the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The 2030 tournament will feature 48 teams and Dominguez said around 14 stadiums would be used for around 80 matches. By contrast, at the Qatar World Cup later this year, there will be 32 teams playing 64 matches in eight venues.

In 1930 there were only 13 teams and the entire tournament was played in the same city -- Montevideo -- in just three stadiums.

"It's more difficult and onerous for a country to plan a candidacy on its own," said Dominguez.

If successful, it would be the first time that as many as four countries host the World Cup.

The 2026 tournament has already been awarded to three countries -- Canada, Mexico and the United States. The last World Cup to be hosted in South America was Brazil 2014.

More than half of the 21 World Cup tournaments already staged have been in Europe.

11 comments about "Juntos 2030: South American countries seek first World Cup hosted by four nations".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 3, 2022 at 5:31 a.m.

    I think this is a great idea, and a real challenge for the proposed host countries. There is a lot of appeal to holding the competition in South America in a truly international atmosphere.

  2. frank schoon replied, August 3, 2022 at 9:03 a.m.

    YUP, much rather there where soccer is breathed there every second.....

  3. Valerie Metzler, August 3, 2022 at 9:54 a.m.

    Makes sense.

  4. Jeffrey Organ, August 3, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.

    In 2017, I traveled to three of those four countries and saw games in multiple stadiums. As much as I love this idea, the travel and infrastructure challenges are daunting.  They would need to build numerous new stadiums, or completely renovate existing ones, to meet modern requirements (safety and amenities) and generate the kind of revenue FIFA will demand after the North America 2026 gold mine they will tap into.  I also have doubts the rest of the world, especially UEFA, will will support back-to-back tournaments in the Americas.  Hope they can figure out how to make it work. Not sure where the money is going to come from, unless they find serious outside investment.  

  5. humble 1 replied, August 3, 2022 at 11:58 a.m.

    I would not question whether these comtries can handle the WC.  If Brazil can do it they can too - and stadiums will not sit idle afterward.  I visited 2 of the countries in 2022 and was in many stadiums including Estadio Centenario, Uruguay's national stadium, which I've been to many times. Sure it needs some touch up
    but it's the same big cement bowl it was in 1930, no problem.  Not mentioned in the article
    is that the USA was one of the original 12 perticipants and that on match day 1 we beat Belgium 3-1 in Estadio Gran Parque Central of CF Nation. The stadium is finishing a multi-million dollar upgrade with suites and press box, this will be to FIFA standards.  Penarol opned Estadio Campeon del Siglo in 2016, build to FIFA standards, my son attended a game there in June, beautiful.  Summary, for me, infrastructure, not a problem.  Thanks!

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, August 3, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.

    I think it will be challenging too, but not the stadium part. My concern is about the infrastructure, especially transportation. But by having 4 nations involved, they should be able to come up with a dozen cities between them for a suitable base.

    It would be good for soccer and good for South America.

  7. Jeffrey Organ replied, August 3, 2022 at 3:48 p.m.

    I know about the stadiums in Uruguay.  Penarol's is nice.  Interesting that Monumental is just finishing up.  Construction was well underway in 2017 when I was there.  Humble 1,  I believe you are underestimating the amount of work needed in Estadio Centenario.  The national stadiums in Chile and Paraguay are old too.  A big cement bowl isn't what FIFA is looking for anymore. The World Cups going back to 2002 were basically played in newly built or very recently upgraded stadiums with modern amenities. The bigger issues are in Argentina, where the stadiums also need a lot of work.  Where is the money going to come from?  Argentina defaults on its loans seemingly every 5-10 years. Nostalgia will play a minor part in the ultimate decision. It is all about revenue.  The bank vault worth of money they will make in 2026 will find a lot of countries to suck it up.  These countries federations will have no interest in taking a step back if someone else like Spain/Portugal or Morocco makes major investments that will please sponsors and FIFA executives.  

  8. R2 Dad, August 4, 2022 at 6:57 p.m.

    Hosting a world cup is a double-edged sword, with both Brazil and South Africa proving the gusher of cash just goes to FIFA. Yes, there are hotels and restaurants that benefit, so the host indirectly benefits from the temporary increase in visitors. That would be good business during winter in south america, but the cash required upfront to improve stadia is in the billions. I can't wait until the international community cools on the world cup in the same way they have for the Olympics. Maybe then FIFA won't be able to leverage harvesting all the cash for themselves anymore.

  9. James Geluso, August 5, 2022 at 3:51 a.m.

    I'd rather see it in two or three countries -- especially with Chile so far away from the population agglomeration of Buenos Aires-Montevideo-Asunción. But it may just be that the three countries think they need the extra stadia and hotels and training facilities that Chile brings -- or just the extra sympathy from making it the whole Southern Cone. 

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2022 at 4:39 a.m.

    If Chile just handled 1 or 2 groups during the group stage, that would avoid the transportation challenge while contributing greatly to handling the larger format.

  11. Enrique Lopetegui, August 7, 2022 at 11:24 a.m.

    I don't care where the 2030 World Cup is played at, BUT the final should be played at Estadio Centenario (Montevideo, Uruguay) where it all began. Period. 

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