FIFA target 2030 World Cup host vote in September next year

AP , Wednesday 15 Feb 2023

The 2030 World Cup hosts are expected to be picked in September next year, FIFA said Tuesday.



FIFA's ruling council confirmed a timetable for bidding and a vote to be held in the third quarter of next year by around 200 member federations. FIFA has long targeted a decision in 2024 for the tournament that is currently scheduled to have 48 teams.

A separate election meeting will be held earlier in 2024 to pick a host for the 2027 Women's World Cup, soccer's governing body said.

The three 2026 hosts of the men's World Cup _ the United States, Canada and Mexico _ all had their expected automatic entries in the 48-team finals tournament confirmed Tuesday. It will be the first edition expanded from the 32-team tournament that was introduced in 1998.

FIFA also picked Saudi Arabia _ a potential candidate in the 2030 contest _ to host the next Club World Cup from Dec. 12-22 in the latest addition to the kingdom's sports hosting ambitions.

In the 2030 hosting race, co-hosting bids from South America and Europe have been the expected favorites, with Morocco also in the picture and speculation about a Saudi-led and unprecedented three-continent project.

The inaugural 1930 World Cup host, Uruguay, is part of a centenary bid with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Spain and Portugal were joined last October for their longstanding European candidacy by Ukraine.

Morocco committed to taking part in the 2030 contest more than four years ago immediately after losing the vote for the 2026 tournament to the North Americans.

At the World Cup in Qatar in December, Moroccan soccer federation leader Fouzi Lekjaa was still open to reviving an old idea of Morocco joining its near-neighbors Spain and Portugal in an intercontinental bid.

Saudi Arabia's ambitions to host more soccer events have led to unconfirmed speculation of a 2030 bid with Egypt in Africa and Greece in Europe. It is unclear how European soccer body UEFA would deal with a member federation joining a rival bid.

Such a bid also would require sending the tournament back to Asia and the Persian Gulf only eight years after Qatar hosted, so a Saudi bid for 2034 could be more realistic.

The Saudi-hosted Club World Cup in December should be the last in the current seven-team format of continental champions plus the host nation's domestic league winner.

FIFA has set a June 2025 target to launch a tournament of 32 teams with European teams taking 12 entries.

Continental allocations for the tournament were confirmed Tuesday with South America to get six teams, and four each going to Asia, Africa and the CONCACAF region, plus one to Oceania. The host nation will get the last slot.

The United States is a potential host for the 2025 Club World Cup as a test event for the following year's World Cup.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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