By Andrew Warshaw
March 22 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he wants as many bids as possible for the 2030 World Cup and has not ruled out China even though South America is an early favourite to land the tournament.
Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile have confirmed they intend to bid together for what would be the centenary of the World Cup and therefore a strong symbolic hosting.
The four British nations plus the Republic of Ireland are also likely to jointly bid as could Spain and Portugal, both having lost out to Russia for 2018. Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia have also expressed an interest though in the end, it seems likely one European candidate will emerge as a sole contender to give the Continent more of a chance.
The current thinking at FIFA is that confederations that have hosted the previous two World Cups are ruled out. Technically for 2030 that means Asia and Concacaf could not bid but Infantino declined to dismiss China when speaking by video conference to reporters last Friday following the latest FIFA council session.
“We will be guided by our discussions which will take place at the different FIFA committees and in the Council,” said Infantino. “As FIFA president, the message to the entire world is come and bid, the more we have the merrier.”
China has yet to give any indication of whether it would bid for 2030, with 2034 a more likely proposition.
With an ongoing global debate over China’s human rights record in full swing, Infantino pointed out that human rights were now enshrined in the World Cup bidding process.
“But we must also realise that human rights being a requirement also means addressing it, going to the people, not excluding anyone but including everyone in the world,” he said.
“If we act in a negative way, if we start excluding countries or people or races or whatever, then we are completely on the wrong side.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org