Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay plan 2030 World Cup bid

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will form a joint bid to host the centenary World Cup in 2030, the presidents of the three countries confirmed on Wednesday.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes said in August that his country would join the shared bid by neighbours Argentina and Uruguay, which hosted and won the inaugural World Cup in 1930.

Cartes met with his Argentine and Uruguayan counterparts, Mauricio Macri and Tabare Vazquez, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires on Wednesday to finalise the announcement.

"The first meeting (for the bid preparation) will be organised in the first week of November," Cartes said. "Other countries are going to want to host but there is a very strong argument in favour of Uruguay, which will celebrate 100 years" since it staged the first World Cup.

Hosts Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the 1930 final in Montevideo.

Vazquez revealed it took him "less than 40 seconds" to agree to the joint proposal with Argentina when it was first suggested following a visit to Uruguay by Macri in January 2016. Macri said the subsequent decision to include Paraguay came equally as quickly.

Macri is a former president of top Argentina football club Boca Juniors, Vazquez was president of Uruguayan side Progreso, and Cartes is an ex-president of Paraguayan outfit Club Libertad.

South America last hosted the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. The bidding process is not due to open for several years yet, but any bid for 2030 is likely to face stiff competition from the Asia region, where China is expected to be the front-runner to stage the finals.

Meanwhile UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in June that Europe should host the 2030 tournament, adding he would give his full backing if England or a joint British bid were to declare an interest.

Both Uruguay and Argentina have won the World Cup twice before, with Uruguay taking the inaugural tournament and again in 1950.

Argentina won the tournament in 1978 on home soil, and again in Mexico in 1986.

The next World Cup takes place in Russia, with Qatar staging the event in 2022.

A joint United States-Mexico-Canada bid is the favourite to host the 2026 tournament, with only one other country, Morocco, having entered the bidding race.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature 48 teams with the competition set to expand from its current 32-team format. — AFP