FIFA delays campaign and vote to pick men’s 2030 World Cup hosts; women’s 2027 vote set for Bangkok

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GENEVA — FIFA’s search for the men’s 2030 World Cup hosts was postponed on Friday due to delays about agreeing on rules for the campaign and the final vote.

The vote by about 200 FIFA member federations was moved to the last quarter of 2024 instead of a previously expected meeting in September next year.

Bid rules will aim to be settled on at a FIFA council meeting before the end of October, soccer’s governing body said, “with the bidding process to be officially launched thereafter.”

One speculated project for the 48-team tournament in 2030 appeared to drop out this week when media in Greece reported a Saudi Arabia-led co-host bid that included Egypt will not go ahead.

Saudi Arabian soccer officials had not publicly confirmed what would have been an unprecedented three-continent hosting plan in line with the kingdom’s aggressive big-spending ambitions in global soccer. A bid for the 2034 World Cup has been seen as a more likely target.

Still, Saudi involvement could yet be revived even if it would mean bringing the World Cup back to Asia just eight years after Qatar hosted in 2022, and likely again in November-December in the middle of the European club season.

Europe has long committed to bidding for the 2030 World Cup with Spain and Portugal, and that project has added near-neighbor Morocco from Africa. Ukraine also is involved in that bid.

South America also wants to host the centenary World Cup, with original 1930 host Uruguay in a four-nation bid with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Even if the South American bid loses, Uruguay could still be honored as the inaugural host by being given some of the 104 games to stage at the same Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

FIFA said on Friday it wanted “additional consultation with all key stakeholders (for the 2030 World Cup) which will mark the centenary of men’s football’s showpiece tournament.”

The 2027 Women’s World Cup vote is scheduled on May 17 next year and FIFA said its annual meeting to decide the host will be held in Bangkok.

The four candidates are Brazil; South Africa; a European co-hosting bid from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands; and a United States-Mexico bid.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada will host the first 48-team men’s World Cup in 2026, and FIFA also decided on Friday to award the 2025 Club World Cup to the U.S. as a test event.

The recently expanded 32-team club tournament could also share some games with Canada and Mexico.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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