Ukraine join Spain and Portugal's 2030 World Cup bid
- Ukraine join Iberian 2030 World Cup bid
- Comes after seven months of conflict in their country
- Zelensky gave his approval
WHAT HAPPENED? Ukraine have confirmed they will be joining Spain and Portugal in their bid for hosting rights to the tournament. Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982, and the two countries have previously bid for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, but were unsuccessful.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The bid comes amid the seven-month-long military conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The Athletic reported that talks between the respective federations and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had been ongoing for months and he had given his approval.
AND WHAT'S MORE: The plan is for Ukraine to host one full set of group stage matches at the 2030 World Cup. It will be the second tournament to host 48 teams, and having it spread across three countries may be more appealing to FIFA.
WHAT THEY SAID: UAF president Andriy Pavelko, who is also a UEFA Executive Committee member, has said: ''We are glad to join the European bid to host the 2030 World Cup. We realize how important this initiative is today for all of Ukraine. This is the dream of millions of Ukrainian fans. The dream of people who survived the horrors of war or are still in the occupied territories, over which the Ukrainian flag will surely fly again soon. We revived Ukrainian football in the conditions of war and against war. The war will end, and we will organize World Cup 2030 matches together with Spain and Portugal at the highest level!''
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR SPAIN, PORTUGAL & UKRAINE? The three nations will have to wait until 2024 to find out whether their bid to host the World Cup is successful. It is unclear what FIFA will do should there still be major conflict in Ukraine come the time of selecting the hosts of the 2030 World Cup.