The FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet, with millions of football fans flocking to see it every four years and even more watching on television around the world.
First launched in 1930, it has been hosted all across the globe, in South America, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, while the 2022 tournament takes place in the Middle East.
There is a lot of prestige attached to hosting the tournament, with the eyes of the world fixed on proceedings, and it is believed that it can provide countries a welcome boost in tourism.
FIFA confirmed the United States, Mexico and Canada would host the 2026 tournament back in 2018, and it is common for the decision to be made nearly a decade in advance to allow sufficient time for the appropriate steps to be taken in relation to infrastructure.
A number of bids are currently being prepared for the 2030 World Cup, so Goal brings you everything you need to know about which countries are in the running and more.
Which countries are bidding to host World Cup 2030?
|🇦🇷 Argentina, 🇨🇱 Chile, 🇵🇾 Paraguay, 🇺🇾 Uruguay||CONMEBOL (South America)||Yes|
|🇵🇹 Portugal, 🇪🇸 Spain||UEFA (Europe)||Yes|
|🇧🇬 Bulgaria, 🇬🇷 Greece, 🇷🇴 Romania, 🇷🇸 Serbia||UEFA (Europe)||Yes|
|🇲🇦 Morocco||CAF (Africa)||Yes|
|🏴 England, Northern Ireland, 🇮🇪 Republic of Ireland, 🏴 Scotland, 🏴 Wales||UEFA (Europe)||No|
|🇪🇬 Egypt||CAF (Africa)||No|
|🇨🇲 Cameroon||CAF (Africa)||No|
|🇨🇴 Colombia, 🇪🇨 Ecuador, 🇵🇪 Peru||CONMEBOL (South America)||No|
A number of bids have been confirmed for the 2030 World Cup, with some potential bids still being weighed up by some countries.
South American countries Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay have banded together for a joint bid as they attempt to convince FIFA to sanction a 'Southern Cone' World Cup.
The initial intention to bid was made public ahead of a game between Argentina and Uruguay in 2017, when Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi wore jerseys depicting the year 2030. It was subsequently confirmed in 2019 that Paraguay and Chile would join the process.
One of the selling points of the multi-nation South American bid is to bring the World Cup back to Uruguay on the 100th anniversary of the first tournament which was held there in 1930.
While Argentina (1978), Uruguay (1930) and Chile (1962) have already hosted the tournament in the past, it would be the first time it is held in Paraguay.
Spain and Portugal have joined forces in the battle for hosting rights and confirmed their bid in 2020. Spain last hosted the tournament in 1982, while it has never been held in Portugal.
"Few things can be more exciting than the opportunity to organise a World Cup and we cannot think of a better partner than Portugal," said Spanish football association (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales. "We go hand in hand with the Portuguese Federation."
A second European bid is being made by Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia - with all four nations relishing the prospect of bringing the tournament to their land for the first time. Their bid was confirmed in 2019.
There is a chance that the World Cup could return to Africa in 2030, with Morocco confirming intent to bid for the tournament. The north African country, which touches the Mediterranean, missed out on the rights to host the 2026 tournament, but remains undeterred in launching a new bid.
Remarkably, it will be Morocco's sixth bid for the World Cup hosting rights, having failed for the 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026 editions. There have been some suggestions that Morocco could turn it into a join bid, with Portugal and Spain, as well as Algeria and Tunisia suggested as partner hosts.
Football could finally 'come home' in 2030 if a joint bid involving the United Kingdom and Ireland get off the ground. The four British associations - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - are teaming up with the Republic of Ireland to assess the feasibility of a bid and resources are being committed by the various associated governments.
“The football associations and government partners of the UK and Ireland are delighted that the UK government has committed to support a prospective five association bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup," a joint statement said in March 2021. "We will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022.
"Staging a FIFA World Cup would provide an incredible opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for our nations. If a decision is made to bid for the event, we look forward to presenting our hosting proposals to FIFA and the wider global football community."
England previously hosted the World Cup in 1966, famously winning the competition on that occasion, but have been unsuccessful in subsequent bids.
In terms of other bids, Egypt indicated a desire to bid for the 2030 World Cup (as well as the 2032 Olympics), but it has been suggested that the Egyptian football authorities may focus their energies on bidding for the 2034 World Cup instead.
Football figures in Cameroon have also expressed interest and the country will have a chance to demonstrate its ability to host a major tournament when it stages the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
It is possible that there will be a second South American bid should Ecuador, Colombia and Peru manage to take their interest to a stronger footing.
How does the World Cup 2030 bidding process work & who decides?
The bidding process will officially begin in the first half of 2022 and the host nation (or nations) will be formally declared at the 74th FIFA Congress in 2024 - six years in advance of the tournament.
Once bids have officially been registered with FIFA, the world governing body then carries out thorough inspections with regard to the suitability and preparedness of a proposed host.
Hosts are chosen by a vote taken by the FIFA Council, which is made up of members from the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA, as well as the FIFA president.
Usually, prospective host nations enlist the support of influential individuals to serve as ambassadors for their bids, with sporting and political figures frequently recruited to the cause.