Friday 03 November 2023, 20:15

Football has sent a message of unity with FIFA World Cup hosting decisions

  • FIFA President addressed the 77th CONMEBOL Congress in Rio de Janeiro

  • Hosting decisions were based on “consensus and unity” after consultation and constructive dialogue

  • Gianni Infantino thanked Presidents of the confederations for their agreement

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in his address to the 77th CONMEBOL Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has praised the continental confederations for their agreement over the hosting of the FIFA World Cup tournaments in 2030 and 2034, saying football has sent the world a much-needed message of unity. "I’d just like to thank and congratulate everyone, especially the Presidents of the confederations, and the members of the FIFA Council, because I think we have proved to the world that it is possible to reach consensus and unity in decision-making processes," said the FIFA President. "I think that in our world, where there is unfortunately a lot of aggression, we need those kinds of messages of togetherness and unity."

Following extensive consultation with all confederations, the FIFA Council agreed at its meeting on 4 October that the sole candidate for hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2030 would be the combined bid of Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, with three matches to take place in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay respectively to celebrate the Centenary of the first World Cup. It was also agreed that FIFA Member Associations from the territories of the AFC and the OFC would be invited to bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2034. FIFA subsequently received one declaration of interest, from the Saudi Arabian Football Association, before the 31 October deadline.

The FIFA President was speaking on the eve of the CONMEBOL Libertadores final between Fluminense and Boca Juniors at the Maracanã stadium on Saturday, 4 November. Saturday’s winners will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup Saudi Arabia 2023™ in December, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup 2025™, which will take place in the United States and will feature 32 teams for the first time. So far, Palmeiras and Flamengo, Libertadores champions in 2021 and 2022 respectively, have already qualified from CONMEBOL and they will be joined by the Libertadores winners in 2024, plus two other sides from the CONMEBOL confederation.

The FIFA President paid homage to Marta, who retired from international football this year after representing Brazil at six FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments. He also remembered Brazilian legend Pelé, who passed away in December last year, and Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, who passed away three years ago. Gianni Infantino also sent his support to Liverpool and Colombia forward Luis Díaz, whose father has been kidnapped in Colombia. "We all hope for a happy ending," the FIFA President said.