Paraguay joins Argentina, Uruguay in first 2030 World Cup bid

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Published 31.08.2017 20:45
Updated 31.08.2017 21:01
A general view of Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, Paraguay, October 12, 2015. (Reuters Photo)
A general view of Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, Paraguay, October 12, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Paraguay has joined forces with Argentina and Uruguay in a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup finals, President Horacio Cartes said on Thursday.

"I can confirm that we, the Presidents of #Paraguay #Argentina and #Uruguay have agreed to fight for the nomination of 2030 football World Cup," Cartes said in a tweet.

The announcement was backed up by his countryman, Alejandro Dominguez, who is president of South American Football Confederation, Conmebol.

"The president is going to fight because the World Cup is coming back to where it originated 100 years ago," Dominguez said at a news conference, in reference to the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930.

"For Conmebol, bringing this back is priority number one."

Although no official details were revealed, local news reports said Argentina would have six host cities or stadiums, while Uruguay and Paraguay would have three each.

The joint bid is the first concrete one for the 2030 tournament.

Paraguay is unaccustomed to hosting major sporting events, the last of which was the Copa America in 1999, and the bid was met with scorn by the country's most famous footballer.

Goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, the former national team captain famous for scoring penalties and free kicks, called the bid "bread and circus" -- a phrase sometimes used to refer to appeasement of the people through distraction.

"Dominguez, Paraguay doesn't need a World Cup. It needs hospitals, schools, infrastructure," the retired former Velez Sarsfield and Penarol keeper said.

"We have to be realistic. We are a small country. There are many areas that are in a bad way where nothing is being done and these are the priorities for our people."

The huge financial burden of giant tournaments such as the Olympics or the World Cup has been source of debate over the last years. Amid corruption charges directed at former Brazilian President Wilma Rousseff, 2016 Olympics host Rio de Janerio and other cities in Brazil witnessed mass demonstrations that also targeted rising living costs, partly due to the the organization's financing.

Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar four years later. Host nations for the subsequent competitions have yet to be decided.

Argentina and Uruguay, which was the original World Cup host in 1930, have long been expected to seek hosting rights for a tournament likely to feature 48 teams playing in at least 12 stadiums.

Dominguez said the game venues would be decided later by a commission. It's likely the majority of matches will be in Argentina, which is the largest country and has the most football stadiums.

European soccer federations will also be eligible to bid and one option could unite England and other British members of FIFA.

A three-way bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico is already favored to host the 2026 World Cup.

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