Four South American countries will on Tuesday launch an unprecedented joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup with the hope of bringing the global showpiece back to its first home.
Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile’s intention to bid has long been in the making.
More than three years ago they committed to create a local organizing committee to co-ordinate with South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL to plan their bid.
But it has taken until now for the “Juntos 2030” (Together 2030) bid to be made official.
It centers on the desire to “bring the World Cup back to its original home: South America,” said CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez.
The very first edition of the World Cup in 1930 was held in Uruguay and won by the hosts, beating their neighbors Argentina 4-2 in the final.
The joint South American bid aims to stage the 2030 final in the very same Centenario stadium that hosted the first title match 100 years earlier.
“For us it should be called the 2030 Centenary World Cup,” said Uruguay’s sports minister Sebastian Bauza.
“What we have to focus on is the Centenary World Cup. The 100 year celebration of the first World Cup will be here. Back to the legend, back to its roots!”
Should it be successful, though, the two tournaments could not be more different.
In 1930 there were only 13 teams and the entire tournament was played in the same city – Montevideo – in just three stadiums.
In 2030 there will be 48 teams with around 15 stadiums used across the four countries.
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.
Despite the Latin American region being one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Chile’s sports minister Alexandra Benado insisted in an interview published on Monday that all four countries remain in a position to host the tournament.
“Our proposal will be austere and sustainable and will meet FIFA’s demands,” Benado told El Mercurio newspaper.
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 they 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 last World Cup to be hosted in South America was Brazil 2014.
More than half of the 21 World Cup finals already staged have been in Europe but later this year Qatar will host the finals, only the second time they will be in Asia.
Originally published at tribune.com.pk