Chile added as South America advances 2030 World Cup bid

The South American effort to return the Fifa World Cup to the continent in 2030 has been revamped, with Chile formally confirmed as part of the bid for the national team football tournament.

Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, announced in February that his nation would join Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in the joint bid. Piñera said that his counterparts from the other three countries had agreed to Chile’s participation, adding that he had been holding talks for a number of months.

These plans were rubber-stamped yesterday (Wednesday) at a meeting in Buenos Aires between the leaders of the four nations – Piñera, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Paraguay’s Mario Abo and Uruguay’s Tabaré Vázquez – and South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) president Alejandro Domínguez.

The AFP news agency said the four countries have agreed to create a central local organising committee that will co-ordinate bid efforts with Conmebol through a representative from each nation. They also decided to split the opening match, semi-finals and the final between the four potential hosts. The first meeting of this body will be held in the Argentine capital on April 8.

“We want to consolidate this idea and start to work on delivering the objective that the World Cup in 2030 is played here in the country and in the continent where it was born,” Dominguez told AFP.

Macri added: “We know that we’re up against tough competition, which is why we have to start working as soon as possible.”

Chile hosted the 1962 World Cup, while Argentina staged the 1978 tournament. Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and the bid is envisioned to mark the centenary of this tournament. In November 2017, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay formalised a pact to launch a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup, with Paraguay having been added to the masterplan in August 2017.

Piñera said that a 48-team 2030 World Cup would be accommodated by 12 to 18 venues across the four countries, with Chile hoping to have three or four host cities. He added, according to Chilean broadcaster Mega: “We will participate intensively in the World Cup. In addition to having matches of the Round of 16, quarters, semi-final and possibly the play-off for third place.”

Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Santiago and Concepción have already been linked with becoming Chile’s venues for the World Cup. Pauline Kantor, Minister of Sport, said the venues will be selected according to which “stadiums each city has, hotel capacity, airports, transportation, streets, hospitals and security, because they are all elements to consider”.