FIFA unveiled the 2030 FIFA World Cup hosts on Wednesday. Morocco, Portugal and Spain will host the majority of the tournament. However, the world’s governing body of the sport also announced that the competition will begin in South America. In a unique decision, the opening three matches of the 2030 World Cup are in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The six countries had previously been battling it out to host the competition. The Spain-Portugal-Morocco bid also tentatively included Ukraine at one point. On the other hand, the South American conglomerate wanted to host the World Cup 100 years after it hosted the first edition.

Nevertheless, the sextet will now all be able to host games at the 2030 World Cup. It will be the first time in the competition’s history that a single tournament plays out in six different countries.

1930 World Cup host stadium selected as venue for 2030 opener among six hosts

FIFA’s decision to split up the 2030 hosts celebrates the 100th anniversary of the World Cup. The initial 1930 World Cup was in Uruguay. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has confirmed that the South American nation will host the opening match of the 2030 tournament. In fact, Estadio Centenario, the stadium used during the 1930 World Cup will host the initial match in 2030.

“In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting,” proclaimed Infantino. “The FIFA council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the FIFA World Cup, whose first edition was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.”

“As a result, a celebration will take place in South America and three South American countries – Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay – will organize one match each of the FIFA World Cup 2030.”

“The first of these three matches will of course be played at the stadium where it all began, in Montevideo’s mythical Estádio Centenário, precisely to celebrate the centenary edition of the FIFA World Cup.”

Decision narrows down possibilities for 2034 hosts

As a result of the move, all six countries will receive an automatic place in the 2030 World Cup. After the first three matches in South America, teams will then travel to Europe/Africa. Morocco, Portugal, and Spain are the hosts for the remainder of the 2030 World Cup.

Morocco and Portugal will host World Cup games for the first time. Both nations previously had a series of unsuccessful bids over the years. Spain, however, also hosted the tournament back in 1982.

FIFA typically rotates World Cup hosts between their confederations. With the decision today, and CONCACAF members set to host the 2026 World Cup, the 2034 tournament will have limited hosting opportunities. FIFA is likely to pick a host for the 2034 competition from Asia or Australia/New Zealand.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Photosport