This year marks the centennial of the first World Cup, and plans are underway to bring the tournament back to the Estadio Centenario, the site where the hosts Uruguay were crowned the inaugural champions.

The 1930 World Cup saw 16 teams invited to play, but withdrawals and a missed ship meant 13 teams were able to compete in Montevideo.

The idea of Uruguay hosting the 2030 World Cup has been floating about since the early 2000s.

Uruguay and Argentina launched their joint bid to host the tournament in 2017, and Paraguay and Chile eventually joined the bid as well.

As part of their candidacy, Uruguay insisted on using Montevideo’s storied Estadio Centenario,

Little has changed at the site since it was first constructed in 1930 to host the World Cup. Consequently, it was obvious that a significant renovation was necessary so that it could host the 2030 edition.

Renovations are underway at the Estadio Centenario
Renovations are underway at the Estadio Centenario

Renovations are underway at the Estadio Centenario

Where are plans?

While proposing some substantial alterations, the initiative to modernize Estadio Centenario seeks to maintain the stadium’s historic identity.

The lowest levels of the stands will be reconstructed, and the stadium’s field will be reduced. Also, once the stands are linked, the height of the sitting room alone in the west stand (Tribuna America) will be increased to match that of the rest of the auditorium.

Almost all of the stands will have roofs, which is a major change. The distinctive tower (Torre de los Homenajes) of the stadium will remain intact. Thus, the only area where a tiny hole will be cut in the top is surrounding it.

After the renovations, up to 80,000 fans will be able to fit inside the stadium. According to FIFA, this is the bare requirement for hosting the World Cup opening match and final.

At one point, the Estadio Centenario was even considered to host the championship game.

What’s new?

This past Tuesday, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) announced that the new Centenario Stadium would be designed by architects from Uruguay and Brazil. They are tasked with providing the blueprint for the Centenario Stadium’s renovations for the 2030 World Cup opening match on July 31.

The AUF selected three firms from a pool of nine: “From,” “SB Arquitectos,” and “Vigliecca & Asociados.” To have Montevideo host the first World Cup match in 2030, Uruguay must submit a Bid Book to FIFA for final approval by July 31.

Designing the overall idea is the responsibility of the Uruguayan and Brazilian studios. Of all the phases of the Centenario Stadium restoration project, the conceptual design represents the height of creativity. Its goal is to show the design in its most finished form.

According to Referi, the selected proposal includes two or three possibilities for covering the Centenario Stadium, as well as a two- to three-meter drop in field elevation. Also, restoration efforts will center on the Tribuna America and the field’s decline.

This will allow the Centenario to accommodate more people. Since all three entities must provide their consent, the AUF, the federal government, and the Montevideo city government oversaw the whole procedure.

Photo credit: IMAGO / imagebroker