— Published 8 February 2023

For the 2030 World Cup, South America cultivates the memory

Contrast. Everything is calm, in the Olympic universe, on the front of the candidatures. For a long time full of rebounds, the campaign for the Winter Games 2030 is now drowsy, since the announcement of the pause of the project of the Japanese of Sapporo. On the other hand, the world of soccer is agitating for the attribution of the men’s World Cup in 2030. No one will complain about this.

The first to enter the race, the joint bid of the four South American countries – Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay – continues to lead the way. At least on the media level. The project’s supporters are making more and more statements. With, always, the same argument supposed to stifle the competition: the weight of history.

The gang of four met not far from Buenos Aires, on Tuesday 7 February, at the headquarters of the Argentine Football Federation (AFA), to give a new boost to their project. She took the opportunity to launch a new appeal to FIFA, urging it not to forget the past.

We are convinced that FIFA has the obligation to honor the memory of those who organized the first World Cup,” suggested the president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Paraguayan Alejandro Dominguez, referring to the 1930 World Cup – the first in history – organized in Uruguay.

The same refrain was heard from the Uruguayan Minister of Sports, Sebastian Bauza. “FIFA must come and celebrate where we organized the World Cup one hundred years ago,” he insisted. History, then. Again and again.

Unsurprisingly, Argentina’s head of state, Alberto Fernandez, also dipped into the trunk of memories to defend the South American project. “Our national team brought the World Cup back to our continent and it would be a great joy if, 100 years later, it came back to where it all began: South America,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Less expected, the Argentine president caused a stir by explaining that the four-country project could become a five-country bid. Alberto Fernandez announced that he was going to propose “that our brother country Bolivia be part of this dream“.

A more continental World Cup than ever, then. Five countries, not less, that is to say two more than for the World 2026 (United States, Canada, Mexico). The project would make history, including the carbon footprint, with long and frequent air travel between the host nations.

With four or five countries, the South American bid could keep its slogan, “2030 Juntos – 100 años” (2030 Together – 100 years). But it would probably have to revise its plan. At this stage, it remains rather vague. The only thing we know for sure is that the opening match will be held in a different country than the world title match. Claudia Tapia, the president of the Argentinean federation, announced on Tuesday, February 8: the kick-off of the 2030 World Cup would be given in Argentina, but the final would be played, as for the 2030 edition, in Uruguay.

Is the weight of history enough to win the bid? Not likely. FIFA has demonstrated on many occasions that it is more interested in the future than in the past, especially when it suggests a new leap forward in marketing and television rights.

Competition? It could get stronger. To date, the list of candidates boils down to two lines: the South American project and a Spain-Portugal ticket, reinforced since last fall by the addition of Ukraine.

The enigmatic joint candidacy of Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia has fueled the rumors. But it has never really been confirmed by the three countries.

On the other hand, a new candidate could emerge. It would be African. Present at the end of last week in Algiers, for the final of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe, openly mentioned the issue in a press conference.

Algeria and Morocco must submit a bid to host a World Cup, explained the South African leader, presented as a strong and loyal ally of Gianni Infantino. I am satisfied with the quality of their infrastructure. It would make us proud!