FIFA recently announced the winners of the 2030 World Cup Bid, Morocco, Spain, Portugal..and Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. In a shock move, FIFA has set the tournament to be played in three continents, with six teams qualifying automatically.
The initial bid was unconventional from its inception – the World Cup has never been played on more than one continent let alone more than one country, and although the next stage is set to be the US and Canada, there is no way to determine if this format will be successful. The bid was initially for Spain, Portugal, and Ukraine in a demonstration of hope that did not last long. Morocco joined in March and complicates things further as the weather variation increases. Despite the insecurities and unknowns about the host nations, the prospect of sharing the prestigious tournament with 3 football-crazy countries is at least an idea that promotes unity and collaboration. But to add 3 more? And for those to be in South America, the other side of the world? Players will sweat in Rabat and freeze in Montevideo.
Although the reasoning may be “logical”, commemorating the centenary of the World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, it begs the question why not just give Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina the hosting honour? there is no doubt the interest is there, especially in a nation that just won the World Cup. The decision has shocked climate groups, as the carbon footprint of FIFA events seems to grow; flying to a game across the ocean will have a significant toll on the climate, and monetarily on fans alike.
Legally everything gets even more complicated. Say we had another Rubiales, an alleged crime committed during the World Cup in a country that the offender is not from. In order for this to be prosecuted in the offender’s home country the act must be criminal where it was committed. So, if the crime occurred in Uruguay but was committed by a French person it would have to be prosecutable in both countries in order to go to trial in France. FIFA regulations would then have to be consulted as they craft their response, and each jurisdiction would have to consider their own laws if they were to support…… It makes for a much more difficult case.
All in all, it reads as a money grab from FIFA, able to exploit World Cup fever in 6 different countries all at once. It fits their track record, as Qatar’s carbon dumping proves, but questions the integrity of football’s greatest competition. Essentially ensuring a Saudi World Cup in 2034, will change the World Cup as we know it.
Image Credit: Alex-David Baldi // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED