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Spain, Portugal get ball rolling for 2030 World Cup bid

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) have confirmed that a process is underway to potentially launch a joint bid for the 2030 Fifa World Cup.

In a joint statement, the federations said that after several meetings they have elected to conduct an in-depth analysis of a bid for the national team tournament.

The statement added: “Both federations would like to take this opportunity to state that the governments of both countries have been properly informed about this process, given that they will have a key part to play in its development.”

Morocco, which lost out to the joint effort from the US, Canada and Mexico for rights to the 2026 World Cup, had previously been linked to playing a part in Spain and Portugal’s potential tilt at 2030, but was not referred to in Saturday’s statement. Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin had previously expressed his opposition to such a project.

Spain and Portugal have prior history in conducting joint bids for the World Cup, having taken part in the process that saw Russia land rights to last year’s event. While Portugal has never hosted the tournament, Spain staged the 1982 World Cup.

Saturday’s news was the latest development in what is shaping up to be a competitive process for the hosting rights to the next available World Cup. In April, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to lay the groundwork for a joint bid to host either the 2028 Uefa European Championship or the 2030 World Cup.

In March, the South American effort to return the World Cup to the continent in 2030 was revamped, with Chile formally confirmed as part of the bid. Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, earlier 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.

China has also been strongly linked to a bid for the 2030 World Cup, with Fifa president Gianni Infantino stating last week that he will support changes to the governing body’s rules to allow the country to bid.

China was also awarded hosting rights to the 2023 Asian Cup last week. Fifa presently has a rotation policy in place that prevents the same confederation hosting two out of any three World Cup finals tournaments. With the 2022 edition set to take place in Qatar, the current rules would not allow China, or any other Asian Football Confederation (AFC) country, to bid to host a World Cup until 2034.

The four countries of the United Kingdom, plus Ireland, are also investigating their options for a joint 2030 World Cup bid.