Morocco, Spain and Portugal will be the hosts and Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will stage the first matches following FIFA's designation, which King Mohammed VI considered "a tribute and recognition of the special position Morocco enjoys among the leading nations"

2030 World Cup will unite three continents

PHOTO/WILLIAM VOLCOV/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS VÍA AFP - El Trofeo de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA se muestra en el terreno de juego en la final de la Copa Mundial de Qatar 2022 entre Argentina y Francia en el Estadio Lusail en Lusail, al norte de Doha, el 18 de diciembre de 2022
photo_camera PHOTO/WILLIAM VOLCOV/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS VIA AFP - The FIFA World Cup Trophy is shown on the pitch at the Qatar 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha, on December 18, 2022

The 2030 World Cup will be held on three continents: Europe, Africa and America. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) announced on Wednesday evening that the 2030 World Cup will be held in Morocco, Spain and Portugal, while the first three matches will be played in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay to commemorate the centenary of the competition, bearing in mind that the first match was held in 1930 in Montevideo.  

"The FIFA Council unanimously approved the sole bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain to host the tournament in 2030, and all three qualified directly for the finals as hosts," FIFA announced in an official statement.  

"In addition, and taking into account the historical context of the first edition of the World Cup, the FIFA Council also unanimously agreed that Montevideo will host an exceptional first match for this edition, with the first three matches to be held in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay respectively," the international body said. FIFA decided to honour Uruguay with the start of the World Cup in their country. In addition, Argentina will see the Albiceleste make their home debut, while Paraguay has also been granted this privilege thanks to Alejandro Dominguez, the Paraguayan leader who is president of CONMEBOL and who carries great weight within FIFA.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said it was unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the World Cup, as the first edition was held in Uruguay in 1930. "As a result, the celebrations will take place in three South American countries, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, with the organisation of a World Cup 2030 match," he explained.  

Infantino confirmed that the first of the three matches will be played at Montevideo's legendary Centenario Stadium, which hosted the first match of the 1930 World Cup, won by Uruguay's own national team. 

PHOTO/FILE - La FIFA concede a la candidatura española, junto con Portugal y Marruecos, la organización del torneo
PHOTO/FILE - FIFA awards the Spanish bid, together with Portugal and Morocco, to host the tournament

Morocco's success

For Morocco, this is a real milestone. "A tribute and a recognition of the special position that Morocco enjoys among the leading nations," is how Morocco's King Mohammed VI described the designation of the North African country as host of the next World Cup in 2030 alongside Spain and Portugal. 

This choice confirms Morocco's relevance at international level in the sporting arena after the great success achieved at the last World Cup in Qatar in 2022, where the North African team reached the semi-finals, a milestone never before achieved by an Arab or African team. Morocco will also host the 35th Africa Cup of Nations in 2025, 37 years after its last hosting appearance, the 2029 Arab Cup of Nations and the aforementioned 2030 World Cup.  

It is also worth noting that the Moroccan women's football team achieved a historic achievement by reaching the round of 16 of the Women's World Cup in its first World Cup appearance, a fact that also made Morocco the first Arab and African women's team to play in a World Cup.  

There is agreement from various sectors that these recognitions for Morocco have to do with the good sports policy that the Moroccan kingdom is carrying out, thanks in large part to King Mohammed VI's commitment to sport through major investments in sports infrastructures to help the development of young national sportsmen and women from an early age.  

Morocco is also trusted to host major sporting events, thanks to the confidence in its organisational capacity and infrastructures, as well as its security guarantees when hosting major events, including political or economic conclaves such as the next Congress of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Marrakech. 

PHOTO/FILE - El rey Mohamed VI con los integrantes de la selección de fútbol de Marruecos y sus madres
PHOTO/FILE - King Mohammed VI with members of the Moroccan national football team and their mothers

Morocco will provide major stadiums to host the 2030 World Cup matches. Casablanca will have the Grand Stadium of Casablanca, with a capacity of 93,000 spectators, Rabat with the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium with a capacity of 53,000 spectators, Tangier with the Ibn Battouta stadium equipped for 68,000 spectators, Marrakech with a stadium with a capacity of 70,000 spectators, and Agadir and Fez, with football fields equipped for more than 40,000 people. 

Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the committee in charge of Morocco's bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, recently unveiled the project for the construction and renovation of sports stadiums to bring them up to international standards. The president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) said that five stadiums would be renovated and the Grand Stadium of Casablanca, a large infrastructure planned to hold 93,000 spectators, would be built. 

As reported by Al-Arab, Hisham Moataded, a Moroccan academic specialised in international relations, considered that this designation is an international recognition of Morocco's institutional capacities to manage this type of world-class event, which requires great capacity in various fields. 

REUTERS/ASANKA BREDON - Gianni Infantino, presidente de la FIFA
REUTERS/ASANKA BREDON - Gianni Infantino, FIFA President

It is also a success for Moroccan diplomacy, which has been able to compete to position itself very well on the international stage against other nations of great importance and relevance.  

The King of Morocco has already praised the sporting achievements of the Moroccan national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: "Our sons presented the most beautiful image of love for the homeland, unity, family and popular cohesion, and aroused feelings of pride in us and among the Moroccan people". "The same spirit was behind the decision to jointly nominate Spain and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup," as the Alaouite monarch noted, pointing out that this is an unprecedented nomination that unites the African and European continents, and also ultimately the Americas.  

The tripartite Moroccan-Spanish-Portuguese tripartite committee for the organisation of the 2030 World Cup, which held meetings to work out all the details of the Ibero-Moroccan candidacy to host the World Cup, should also be highlighted. 

PHOTO/FILE - Pedro Rocha, presidente de la Real Federación Española de Fútbol, Fouzi Lekjaa, presidente de la Real Federación Marroquí de Fútbol, Karima Benyaich, embajadora de Marruecos en España, y Fernando Gomes, presidente de la Federación de Fútbol de Portugal
PHOTO/FILE - Pedro Rocha, President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Fouzi Lekjaa, President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, Karima Benyaich, Moroccan Ambassador to Spain, and Fernando Gomes, President of the Portuguese Football Federation

Great joy and expectation in Morocco

All Moroccan media positively highlighted Morocco's designation as one of the hosts of the 2030 World Cup tournament, showing national pride and international recognition and trust towards Morocco as a reliable country when it comes to hosting major events.  

This success of the North African nation's diplomacy has to do with the great international and diplomatic activity carried out by the Moroccan kingdom under the directives of King Mohammed VI, who has wanted to increase the nation's international weight in various fields, such as politics and, in this case, sport. 

In the political sphere, one of the main issues Morocco has been fighting for in recent times is to protect its territorial integrity. This includes the recognition of Western Sahara as its own territory. For years, Morocco has been defending its proposal for broad autonomy for the Sahrawi territory under Moroccan sovereignty, respecting UN resolutions, as the best option for resolving the Sahrawi dispute.  

The Moroccan initiative enjoys considerable international support from countries such as the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Spain itself (a former colonial power in the Sahara), which considered the Moroccan formula to be the most serious, credible and realistic way of settling the Sahara dispute. 

PHOTO/FILE - España, Marruecos y Portugal serán los países anfitriones del Mundial de Fútbol de 2030
PHOTO/FILE - Spain, Morocco and Portugal will host the 2030 World Cup in 2030

On the opposite side was the Polisario Front's proposal to hold a referendum on independence for the Sahrawi people, which has less international support, including that of Algeria, a major political rival of the Moroccan kingdom in the Maghreb.  

Morocco's plan for Western Sahara seeks to give the local Sahrawi authorities great room for manoeuvre within the Moroccan state, which would deal with defence and foreign policy issues, and, above all, it also seeks to develop the region administratively, socially and economically as much as possible.  

Now comes international recognition on the sporting front, thanks to the good diplomatic work carried out, with its designation as one of the hosts of the next football World Cup in 2030, in addition to its selection as the next host of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2025 and the Arab Cup of Nations in 2029, all this after Morocco's great sporting success at the last World Cup in Qatar in 2022. 

In addition to the great joy that this designation has brought to the whole country, as reported by all Moroccan media, the fact that Morocco will host the 2030 World Cup in Western Sahara itself has been celebrated in a big way.  

This has been demonstrated by several videos broadcast on social networks in which many fans can be seen jubilantly celebrating in places as important as Laayoune, the capital of Western Sahara, the nomination of Morocco as one of the venues for an event as important as the 2030 World Cup. 

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