World Cup Ukraine Joins The Spain Portugal Bid

World Cup 2030: Ukraine Joins The Spain-Portugal Bid

GENEVA (AP) — Ukraine will join Spain and Portugal’s bid to host the 2030 soccer World Cup.

A person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Ukraine has joined the Iberian bid. The announcement will be made on Wednesday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Spain and Portugal have been working on their joint candidacy for more than three years.


The person asked not to be identified because the announcement has not been made public.

The president of the Ukrainian soccer federation, Andriy Pavelko, confirmed to the AP that he will travel to Switzerland for the announcement but declined to reveal details about the project.

The British newspaper The Times of London was the first to report that Ukraine will join the candidacy of Spain and Portugal.

Ukraine co-hosted the 2012 European Championships in four cities, including Donetsk and Kharkov. Those cities have been occupied or bombed since Russia invaded the country earlier this year.

Although it has not given a schedule with dates, FIFA considers that 2024 will be the year to define the host in 2030, a tournament with 48 teams. The 200 member federations of the governing body will vote.

The European candidacy will face one of four South American countries. Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay made a joint candidacy official in August. This candidacy has as a nostalgic factor the centenary of Uruguay as the venue for the first World Cup.

Saudi Arabia, which has sought close ties with FIFA and its president Gianni Infantino in recent years, is also reportedly developing an unprecedented multicontinental project, including Egypt and Greece. It has not been clarified whether UEFA will give Greece the go-ahead to be part of a rival bid.

Ukraine’s participation in a World Cup bid would have the backing of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who two weeks ago praised UEFA for supporting his country’s soccer and barring all Russian teams from international competition.

Soccer in Ukraine resumed in August after the national championship was suspended last season during the invasion. League matches are played in kyiv and the western city of Lviv, which are often interrupted by airstrikes. Teams have had to shelter in bunkers until it is safe to play again.

The Ukrainian national team and the country’s top clubs cannot host international tournaments because of the risk. For example, Shakhtar Donetsk play their home games in the Champions League in neighboring Poland.

Pavelko will be accompanied by the presidents of the Spanish and Portuguese federations, Luis Rubiales and Fernando Gomes, at the press conference on Wednesday. All three are members of the UEFA executive committee. Both Rubiales and Gomes are vice presidents.

The last World Cup in Europe was Russia 2018. Qatar organizes the 2022 event, while the United States, Canada and Mexico will host the 2026 tournament, the first with 48 teams.


Azzoni reported from Madrid.