Lekjaa, Rocha and Gomez confirm their 2030 World Cup bid is following the program

October 19 – The three presidents of the Morocco, Portugal and Spain federations meeting in Lisbon and Madrid this week, have confirmed that they will submit their official letter of interest to joint host the 2030 World Cup on October 28.

The meetings brought together Fernando Gomes (pictured right – Portuguese Football Federation), Fouzi Lekjaa (left – Royal Moroccan Football Federation) and Pedro Rocha (centre – Royal Spanish Football Federation) for the second time on their joint hosting agenda, but for the first time following the FIFA Council’s decision to nominate them as the sole bidder for the 2030 World Cup.

Although they will submit their letter of interest as the sole bidder, they are the sole bidder ‘with friends’.

Following the FIFA Council meeting in early October, FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed that the 2030 finals will in fact be played in six countries on three continents with opening matches to be held in South America to celebrate the tournament’s centenary.

The decision paved the way for Saudi Arabia to stage the finals in 2034.

While the bulk of matches will be played in Spain, Portugal and Morocco, South America who were looking to host the finals in their 100th year will have some participation with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay each hosting a single opening match on home soil, branded as ‘Centenary Celebration Matches’.

“In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents – Africa, Europe and South America – six countries – Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay – welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup,” said Infantino in a statement at the time.

The theory and sentiment is strong but there is, politically, a long way to go to structure the tournament and allocate games. A task that could easily prove to be acrimonious and has already caused conflict in South America with Chile’s government furious at having been left out of the celebration.

The arbitration and deal-making around the 2030 hosting recommendation was never going to please everyone and ultimately still has a way to go to keep all six national partners across the three confederations comfortable.

For the moment it is about preparing a co-ordinated ‘bid’ from the Euro-African axis that shows solidarity and commitment. Negotiation over where the final is to be played will come later, though both Moroccan and Spanish politicians have already said it should be in their countries.

With opening games already ceded to a somewhat disgruntled South America, there is the sense that there is still a lot of arbitration to take place. You can’t keep all the people happy all the time. Having agreed to spread their hosting ‘wealth’ further than ever before, FIFA will need to keep juggling in a political environment that is founded on leverage and favours.

Having visited each other in Spain and Madrid, the three presidents will next convene in Rabat to officially submit their letter of interest. Perhaps not such an interesting event, but what follows will be.

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