Spain, Portugal and Morocco will co-host the 2030 men’s Fifa World Cup – but only after Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay have staged the opening three games.
Fifa has handed the South American trio the right to host the first three matches of the tournament to celebrate the centenary of the first World Cup, held in 1930 by Uruguay, who beat Argentina in the final. Paraguay is home of the South American federation Conmebol, which organised the tournament.
Uruguay’s Estadio Centenerio in Montevideo was the setting for the first World Cup final and so will kick-off the tournament, before the second game is played in Argentina and the third in Paraguay.
Those three teams and their opponents will then fly to join the rest of the competition, which will be played in the main host nations of Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is expected to stage the opening ceremony and the World Cup final.
All six host nations will qualify automatically, leaving 42 further spots.
The news was announced on social media by the Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez, who is also a vice-president of Fifa and a Fifa Council member. The Paraguayan had led South America’s four-way bid to stage the entirety of the 2030 World Cup, which had also included Chile.
“We aimed high and dreamed big,” Dominguez tweeted. “The 2030 centenary World Cup starts where it all began. The host of the opening matches of the centenary World Cup will be Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.”
Morocco will finally become the first North African nation to host the World Cup, after failing with bids to stage previous editions in 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026. The country is due to host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.
Portugal will also host for the first time, having failed in joint bids with Spain to hold the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, which went to Russia and Qatar respectively. Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup, which was won by Italy at the Bernabeu.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said in a statement: “In a divided world, Fifa and football are uniting. The Fifa Council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the Fifa World Cup, whose first edition was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.
“As a result, a celebration will take place in South America and three South American countries – Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay – will organise one match each of the Fifa World Cup 2030. The first of these three matches will of course be played at the stadium where it all began, in Montevideo’s mythical Estadio Centenerio, precisely to celebrate the centenary edition of the Fifa World Cup.
“The Fifa Council also agreed unanimously that the only bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2030 will be the joint bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain. Two continents – Africa and Europe – united not only in a celebration of football but also in providing unique social and cultural cohesion. What a great message of peace, tolerance and inclusion.
“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.”
Fifa rules dictate that the World Cup cannot be hosted in the same continental federation again for the next two tournaments. With Mexico, USA and Canada staging the event in 2026, and Europe, Africa and South America all involved in 2030, it means the 2034 tournament will be held in either Asia or Oceanania.