The 2030 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Morocco, Spain and Portugal, the world governing body of soccer announced Wednesday, with the three opening matches to be played in South America.
The tournament will be the first World Cup to be held across three different continents. Opening games will be held in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, and all six hosting countries’ teams will be automatically qualified to compete.
The decision to host the 2030 tournament’s opening game in Uruguay is meant to commemorate the World Cup’s 100th anniversary: the first-ever World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930, and the small Latin American host country took the victory after beating Argentina in the final.
At the time, the only existing federation for the sport was the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), which was headquartered in Paraguay.
“In 2030, the FIFA World Cup will unite three continents and six countries, inviting the entire world to join in the celebration of the beautiful game, the Centenary and the FIFA World Cup itself,” FIFA wrote in a press release.
“The FIFA Council unanimously agreed that the sole candidacy will be the combined bid of Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, which will host the event in 2030 and qualify automatically.”
“Additionally,” the statement said, “having taken into account the historical context of the first-ever FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Council further unanimously agreed to host a unique centenary celebration ceremony in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, where the first ever FIFA World Cup took place in 1930, as well as three World Cup matches in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay respectively.”