UEFA will 'fight' for Europe's right to host 2030 World Cup

(Reuters)

Europe is challenging China's pursuit of the 2030 World Cup, with UEFA announcing Thursday that it deserves to host the tournament.

The 2018 tournament is being staged in Russia, but the next two editions are away from Europe as Qatar is the 2022 host and North America is likely to be awarded the 2026 event.

"It is Europe's turn in 2030, clearly," UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said Thursday. "So we will fight for a European host."

UEFA's aspirations will face a serious challenge from China, where President Xi Jinping has made it a priority to increase the country's influence in global soccer. Three of the World Cup sponsors to sign up in the last two years are from China, with smartphone and software maker Vivo the latest on Wednesday.

China is eager to mount a bid to host the World Cup for the first time despite current rules effectively blocking another Asian bid before the 2034 edition.

A more sentimental bid is likely to come from South America. Uruguay, which staged the first World Cup in 1930, is keen on celebrating the centenary of the soccer showpiece by co-hosting with Argentina.

The 2030 tournament is unlikely to be awarded for at least five years, with FIFA's decision on the 2026 edition expected to come next year, with confirmation of the United States-Canada-Mexico proposal.

Ceferin was speaking after a meeting of UEFA's executive committee in Cardiff where the Champions League is being played on Saturday between Juventus and Real Madrid. Here are some other talking points:

Source: AAP