World Cup 2030 might still be nine years from now and FIFA Executive Commitee would not announce the official host till two years after Qatar 2022. Yet, the bidding battle has certainly begun earlier with quite possible twist in the latest development recently as Saudi Arabia is considering to enter the race by collaborating with the current EURO champions, Italy for the first ever odd cross-continent combined host.
Inspired by the fairly successful, though not recommended cross-nations host in the recent EURO 2020, Saudi Arabia is keen on adapting the idea, supported by the American firm, Boston Consultancy Group. According to the press recently, despite this seemingly controversial idea, Italian Football Federation President Gabriele Gravina stated that the organisation would evaluate an Italian candidacy for the 2028 European Championship and the World Cup of 2030, in which the centenary of the World Championship was celebrated. The reason beyond opting for Italy instead of their fellow Arabian nations might be related to commercial view. Saudi and Italy have been reportedly in positive business and sporting relations with Italian Super Cup set to be staged in there next January.
The Saudi-Italy bid will have to take on four officially confirmed joint hosts which have gained support from the confederation and submitted the bids to FIFA. Here they are:
- The South American quartet, Uruguay-Argentina-Paraguay and Chile, is ready to bring the bicentennial world cup celebration back to where it started. Uruguay hosted the first edition in 1930 while Chile and Argentina was chosen later in 1962 and 1978 one. Only Paraguay has never been selected as the host for international tournament apart from Copa America. They have announced the plan in February 2019.
- Morocco is tirelessly attempting to bid for their sixth time after the two consecutive failures in 1994 and 1998 edition, then in 2006 and 2010 ones plus the 2026. This time they are proposing a combined host with their fellow West African nations, Algeria and Tunisia.
- The Iberian World Cup idea has been brought up by Spain and Portugal in August 2020. It is believed to be UEFA's most likely favorite. Spain was selected to be World Cup host in 1982 while Portugal once enjoyed the hosting right in EURO 2024.
- The Balkans is considered as the dark horse in the race. Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece has formed another quartet to challenge their contenders. They have signed their co-host plan in April 2019.
Apart from them, some other countries have also considered to propose their bids for the world cup which will consist of 48 participating teams. The Pan British joint host including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland is another contender from Europe, whereas two other Latino nations, Colombia and Peru, are also considering to join the race. With FIFA's ruling to exclude CONCACAF and AFC to enter the bidding candidancy, the 2030 edition could be in favour of the South American quartet or the Iberian. Yet, anything might still happen till FIFA's official vote in 2024.