Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ukraine will reportedly join Spain-Portugal 2030 World Cup bid CBC Sports

Ukraine is set to join Spain and Portugal in a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

A person familiar with the project told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Ukraine was being added to the Spain-Portugal bid. The revived bid, which has been in the works for more than three years, will be announced on Wednesday at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made public.

Ukrainian Football Federation president Andrey Pavelko confirmed to the AP that he would be traveling to Switzerland for the announcement, but declined to confirm details of the project.

The British newspaper The Times of London was the first to report Ukraine’s involvement in the European bid.

Ukraine co-hosted the 2012 European Championship in four stadiums, including Donetsk and Kharkiv. Those cities in eastern Ukraine have been under occupation or bombing since Russia invaded the country earlier this year.

FIFA has not given a formal timetable for choosing a host for the 48-team tournament in 2030, but the governing body has promised a decision in 2024. About 200 FIFA member associations will participate in the vote.

President likely to support bid

The European bid is expected to face South American candidacy with co-hosts Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. That quote has the emotional vibe of being the centenary of Uruguay, which hosted – and won – the inaugural 1930 World Cup.

Saudi Arabia, which in recent years has worked to forge closer ties with FIFA and its president Gianni Infantino, is preparing an unprecedented multi-continent bid, potentially including Egypt and Greece. It is unclear how Greece will be approved by UEFA to participate in a rival bid.

Ukraine’s participation in the World Cup bid will be backed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who two weeks ago praised UEFA for backing football in his country and suspending all-Russian teams from international competitions, including the lucrative Champions League.

Football in Ukraine resumed in August when the national league was abandoned the previous season during the invasion. League games are being played in Kyiv and the western city of Lviv, many of which have been interrupted by air raid alerts. Teams and officials have taken shelter in bunkers until it is safe for games to resume.

The Ukraine national team and major clubs are currently unable to host games in international competitions due to security risks. Those games have mostly been played in neighboring Poland, including Shakhtar Donetsk playing in the Champions League.

Pavelco is set to accompany Luis Rubiales and Fernando Gomes, the presidents of the Spanish and Portuguese football associations, at a news conference on Wednesday. All three are members of the UEFA Executive Committee and both Rubial and Gomes are vice-presidents.

The launch of three-nation bidding ahead of this year’s World Cup in Qatar allows European allies to lobby their potential voters in the tournament.

Europe last hosted the World Cup in Russia in 2018. The 2026 edition, expanded to 48 teams, will be played in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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