Intercontinental World Cup | Opinion | THE COUNTRY

The awarding of the 2030 soccer world championship to the candidacy promoted by Spain is great news. After the frustrated attempts in recent years to organize a major sporting event – with the Olympic Games for Madrid at the forefront – the leadership of the Spanish federation in this European proposal has borne fruit. For this, it has been key that Portugal and Morocco also joined, in an attempt to unite support for that kind of auction that ends up being the awarding of a championship that moves incalculable symbolic capital and another very tangible one. The 2018 World Cup in Russia cost 11.6 billion dollars and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil cost 15 billion. Last year’s Qatar case has a very different dimension. It was by far the most expensive in history: 220,000 million. The cost of building stadiums in the Gulf emirate alone represented an outlay of between 8,000 and 10,000 million.

Taking on the organization of a men’s World Cup, one of the largest international events a country can aspire to, is also a magnificent opportunity. Above all to demonstrate progress and organizational capacity. Also to improve infrastructure and strengthen grassroots sports. The Spain of today is no longer the Spain of Naranjito, the one that hosted a World Cup in 1982 just seven years after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco and with the country still knocking on the doors of the European Union. Nor are the national teams the same: the senior men’s team won the most coveted trophy in global sport in 2010 in South Africa; the women’s team did the same in Sydney last August.

The most immediate tournament should be held in 2026 in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Then it will be the turn of a group of headquarters whose candidacy has moved masterfully in the fields of strategy and geopolitics. Adding Portugal and Morocco was decisive in attracting accessions beyond Europe and there was even speculation about the possibility of including Ukraine in a gesture of solidarity against the Russian invasion. However, there are less than seven years left to finalize the organization of a championship that lasts almost a month, also coordinating with the same diligence a total of six countries, including Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, which will host, among others, the opening match.

Spain aspires to present itself as the main host of the 2030 World Cup after having resolved the file of the Rubiales case and having renewed the structures of sports federations that are still very masculinized. FIFA’s final decision is a vote of confidence. At least in part, the men’s team players—classified directly as hosts—have one more thing to thank their women’s teammates for.

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