By Samindrra Kunti
February 22 – Bolivia has offered to join Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay in their bid to host the 2030 World Cup, promoting the idea of a pan-South American World Cup.
Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, made the offer during the regional Mercosur meeting in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, saying he wants “to guarantee that in 2030 there is another World Cup in South America.” Last week Chile announced they would be joining the joint bid.
South America has a storied relationship with the World Cup. The region has staged the tournament five times with Brazil the last South American hosts in 2014. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have won the World Cup on nine occasions and the region is intent on rekindling its love story with the quadrennial high mass of the game by bidding for the 2030 World Cup as a centenary celebration for the maiden finals in 1930 in Uruguay.
Morales told presidents Mauricio Macri from Argentina, Uruguay’s Tabaré Vázquez and Paraguayan Mario Abdo Benítez that his country wants to be part of the joint-bid to reinforce South America’s chances of staging the tournament. Morales envisages “two or three departments as sub-seats” for the World Cup and wants “to guarantee that in 2030 there is another World Cup in South America.”
In 2022 Qatar will stage the finals and last year the FIFA Congress voted for the United Stated, Canada and Mexico as co-hosts for the 2026 World Cup, the first finals that will be disputed in a 48-team format.
The idea of another month-long football festival on South American soil is both appealing and problematic. Brazil 2014 proved to be an engaging tournament producing record profits for FIFA at the time, but whether the combined market space of the South American bidders will be enough to satisfy FIFA in the future remains questionable.
The logistics also raise issues. Argentina’s reputation received a serious blow after failing to stage the two-legged Copa Libertadores final last year between Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate.
The South American bid will face competition from Morocco, who are bidding for a fifth time after missing out on 2026. Britain and the eastern European confederations of Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania have also mooted potential bids.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1553353704labto1553353704ofdlr1553353704owedi1553353704sni@o1553353704fni1553353704