Two years from now, those within the upper echelons of FIFA’s headquarters, will have to decide between a number of mooted bids and with this also being the centenary year of the tournament – one that was first hosted in Uruguay back in 1930, South America will look to host it once again.

Not only would COMNEBOL love to see the tournament return to the continent, for what would be the first time in 16 years, they would also be delighted if it could return to the place where it all began.

Of course, the tournament itself has swelled in size since its inaugural offering and with just 13 teams taking part in the first ever edition of the sport’s richest prize, it will be a different prospect 100 years down the line.

As this will be the second edition that will have 48 entrants, a much greater number of suitable stadia is required and with a sizeable strain placed on Uruguay, they have looked to neighbours Argentina, Paraguay and Chile to lighten the load.

Because of the sentiment attached to the landmark date, there is a belief that this South American mega-bid is currently the front runner. However, this has not deterred both Spain and Portugal throwing a combined hat into the ring.

The two Iberian nations have experience of hosting previous international tournaments, as the 1982 World Cup was held in Spain and although Portugal have not had the same global honour themselves, they oversaw the staging of the UEFA European Championships in 2004.

Of course, these two nations have been previous bedfellows in terms of hosting bids and even though the 2018 World Cup would eventually go to Russia, defeat in that process has not deterred either party from entering the next one on the agenda.

An agenda that is complicated by two other European based bids and with the United Kingdom and Ireland declaring a 2030 interest alongside intention from an alliance of Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, it means UEFA president Alexsander Ceferin may have to wield his power.

Cefrein has recently made clear that he would like one preferred bidder from Europe, if only because it would reinforce the ability to gain more votes for one single UEFA bid and this means that the current state of three into one will not go.

Whichever one gets the nod from this trio, may find that a rotation policy is their ultimate undoing and with South America last hosting the tournament four years before the previous iteration in Russia, they will believe that it is their turn before Europe.

Admittedly that rotation is not set in stone but when you consider that China is already the frontrunner for 2034 and due to their vast landmass, could likely host the tournament on its own, the race for 2030 is already heating up.

Because whoever the losing continent is, be it South America and Europe, they then face an additional eight-year wait to have any chance at playing hosts and with that in mind, a serious amount of lobbying from all the hopeful contenders is soon to begin.

Written by Dan Tracey

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