By Andrew Warshaw
December 4 – The race to host the 2030 World Cup, still in its early stage, has taken a potentially important twist with UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin saying he would be against a cross-continental bid between, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
The possibility of a multi-candidate battle to stage the tournament was stepped up last month with Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez saying his country would definitely like to join forces with Portugal and Morocco.
Although nothing firm has been decided it is an open secret that South America would be favourites to host the tournament with Uruguay teaming up with Argentina and Paraguay to commemorate the centenary of the World Cup’s inaugural edition in 1930 in Uruguay.
But they could face strong opposition from Britain and the Republic of Ireland who are considering making a joint bid, with an ongoing feasibility study likely to be wrapped up by the end of January or early February.
Sanchez has upped the ante by saying he wants Morocco to join a three-country bid with Portugal and conveyed the offer to his Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine El Othmani and the Moroccan royal family during a brief visit to the north African country.
But Ceferin, who has previously backed a British-led tournament , says he would be against a nation from another continent being involved in a European bid.
“I’m not in favour of cross-confederation bids,” Ceferin told a news conference in Dublin.
“Someone should say to the politicians it’s not up to them to speak if they will be hosts of the Euros or the World Cup or not.”
“I’ve seen many politicians saying we will be candidate for this and that … for sports events they will have to speak to their national associations.”
Ceferin said he would be wielding his influence to try and bring about one single European candidate, joint or otherwise.
“I will do whatever I can to have only one European bid for the World Cup because that raises the chances of Europe hosting the World Cup extremely.”
Meanwhile Ceferin condemned Sunday’s incident at the Arsenal-Tottenham Premier League derby when a Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, describing the action as “a disaster” for football.
The peel was hurled at Aubameyang after the striker scored a 10th-minute penalty in a feisty fixture.
Spurs have banned the fan indefinitely from attending further games, and the police have also charged the supporter for throwing a missile on to the pitch.
Ceferin said that more must be done to combat racism in football, saying the sport’s governing bodies should educate as well as punish.
“Racism is of course a big problem in football but it’s also a big problem in society, too, and not just racism but sexism too,” Ceferin said.
“We have to do more. We are doing quite a lot already and we sanction clubs and associations, and we do that, but we need to educate as well. But when you see an event like that, it’s a disaster if you ask me.”
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