The World Cup returns to Africa: Morocco set to host 2030 FIFA showpiece

The World Cup returns to Africa: Morocco set to host 2030 FIFA showpiece
Credit: Icon Sport

It has been a long time coming but the FIFA World Cup is set to return to Africa following the awarding of the 2030 hosting rights to Morocco.

The North African nation put in a joint bid with Spain and Portugal for the 2030 edition of the showpiece and emerged as the winners of the bid amidst fierce competition.

Morocco hosting the World Cup alongside Spain and Portugal will mark 20 years since South Africa hosted the world in 2010.

South Africa 2010 is fondly remembered for its brilliance and uniqueness. Now, the North African nation now has its chance.

Morocco-Spain-Portugal coopt Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay into bid to win 2030 hosting rights

Morocco is actually a latecomer to the bid which was initially placed by Spain and Morocco in 2020.

After two years of discussion, the football federations of both European nations began working on a joint bid in October 2020. Ukraine entered the bid in 2022 despite their struggles with the Russian invasion of their land. They dropped out, however, and in 2023, Morocco entered the joint bid.

Morocco was backed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the football governing body of the continent.

The Morocco-Spain-Portugal bid stood against a joint bid from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay who wanted to celebrate a centenary tournament together.

The FIFA World Cup was first hosted in Uruguay in 1930 and the 100-year anniversary of football’s biggest trophy happens to fall in 2030. The joint bid from the South American nation sought to play on the sentiments of the various football federations but the statistical superiority of the Morocco-Spain-Portugal stood in their way.

In the end, Chile was cast aside in favour of the Morocco-Spain-Portugal bid which allowed for a World Cup centenary anniversary commemoration in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. The first three matches of the tournament will be played in these nations as a result of this agreement.

This will also mean that six countries will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2030, a first in the history of the tournament.

Morocco will host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations as a way to prepare for the tournament following CAF’s announcement last week.

CONMEBOL expresses satisfaction over award of 2030 hosting rights to Morocco-Spain-Portugal

CONMEBOL, the governing body for football in South America where a successful Uruguay-Argentina-Chile-Paraguay bid would have taken lace, expressed satisfaction over the way things turned out.

“The centennial World Cup could not be far from South America, where everything began,” a part of the statement from Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL, reads. “The 2030 World Cup will be played in three continents.”

Gianni Infantino, president of world football governing body FIFA, also expressed satisfaction over the outcome. “In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents – Africa, Europe and South America – six countries – Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay – welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup,” Infantino said in a statement.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

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