Argentina and Uruguay want to host the 2030 World Cup jointly, the presidents of both countries announced on Thursday.
After a bilateral meeting in the Uruguayan city of Colonia, Argentine President Mauricio Macri told journalists that the two countries will launch a joint bid to host the 2030 soccer tournament. Macri, who was formerly the president of Argentine soccer giants Boca Juniors, wants to make sure that the bidding committee has plenty of time to impress FIFA bigwigs.
“We’ve got many years to go, but you have to plan these things and fight for them with anticipation,” Macri told reporters in a press conference with Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez.
The 2030 World Cup will mark the 100th anniversary of the tournament, which was first played in Uruguay in 1930, when the host nation defeated Argentina in the final. Back then only 13 countries participated, with European contenders, and a U.S. team made up of college players, taking lengthy boat rides to make it to the competition.
Uruguay still uses the original stadium built for the 1930 World Cup for its national team matches.
But with only 3 million people and a territory the size of Florida, Uruguay is probably too small of a country and economy to organize a modern-day World Cup on its own. So a few years ago, its sports authorities began to discuss the possibility of a joint bid with Argentina.
The two neighboring South American countries, which have won four World Cups between them, are so far the only countries that have expressed interest in hosting the 2030 games.
Russia is set to host the 2018 tournament and Qatar will host the 2022 games, which are already controversial because of bribing scandals in the bidding process. FIFA was expected to announce the host nation of the the 2026 World Cup last year, but had to postpone due to corruption scandals involving top officials.
The U.S., Mexico, Canada and Colombia have all expressed interest in hosting the 2026 World Cup, and there’s even been some talk of a possible U.S.-Mexico joint bid.