The South American candidacy has agreed to request that the election be pursued as a strategy in its favor, will it work?
The World Cup of 2030 is a dream for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay for being an emblematic date: the centenary of the first cup held in Uruguay. However, this is also a dream because of the difficulty of the candidacy, for these countries have a lot of work to do. In view of this, the three countries announced in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, that they have agreed to request to advance to 2020 the date of the election of the headquarters of 2030, in order to gain time to organize it.
The choice of headquarters for 2026 between North America and Morocco may influence the subsequent election. For this reason the South Americans must be attentive, because that could represent an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the option chosen.
Is it convenient for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to advance the date of the election?
Yes, but on the terms in which all three countries have thought about it. That is, to gain time to satisfy the harsh requirements of FIFA. Robert Harrison, president of the Paraguayan Football Association (APF, by its acronym in English), said after the meeting in Asunción that in total they intend to use a minimum of 12 locations: two in his country, two in Uruguay and eight in Argentina. So, by advancing the choice of the headquarters to 2020 they would gain time to resolve several points that are projected critical in their proposal:
- Budget: This is possibly their weakest point. Robert Harrison expressed in the recent meeting that they do not know what the cost of the event would be, that they would have that data until obtaining the candidacy, something that adds uncertainty. However, only the spending in stadiums of the last World overcomes the 3,500 million dollars. This is what Brazil spent on building four stadiums and remodeling eight, while Russia spent 5,000 million dollars on building nine and remodeling three. South Africa, which spent the least, made six stadiums with almost 1,800 million dollars. Now, the closest example in the region is Mexico, whose stadiums that it will use in 2026 in Guadalajara and Monterrey cost 200 million dollars each. This could give an idea of what the South American countries would have to invest.
- Headquarters: FIFA requires scenarios with a capacity of 40,000, 60,000 and 80,000 spectators, discarding those with less. On the one hand, the symbolism of the stadium 'Centenario' would assure Uruguay to be the headquarter. However, its capacity of 60,000 places would prevent it from receiving the opening or the final. The newest stadium in Uruguay is the 'Campeón del siglo' of Club Atlético Peñarol, with a capacity of 40,000. On the other hand, Paraguay is betting on two stadiums with a capacity of 42,000 seats: the renovated Cerro Porteño Club stadium 'La Nueva Olla' and the 'Defensores del Chaco'. For both countries, seeking a seat outside their capitals will be a challenge. Finally, in the Argentine case there are several options with capacity: the 'Gigante de Arroyito', 'Malvinas', 'Mario Alberto Kempes' and the newest 'Ciudad de La Plata', 'Bicentenario' and 'La Pedrera' that will add up to scenarios that can be built in the north and south of the country.
- Government support: Governments have shown their support for the candidacy. Even Mauricio Macri was president of Boca Juniors, so he has been a great promoter of the candidacy. However, the economic conditions of the three countries are not the best. Argentina, which is the largest and would bear the biggest expense, is coming out of a difficult phase after the government transition, this to the point that the country has requested financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a sign that it is not the best moment. Uruguay and Paraguay, in spite of being more stable, will have to make a great effort of financing, since infrastructure, security and luxury services are required.
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- Other candidacies: If the North American candidacy is chosen, Morocco will probably try to run again. With Asia and North America out, the headquarters would be between South America, Africa and Europe. England would be the strongest opponent against which the South Americans compete, because they have experience, infrastructure and budget. On the other hand Morocco has a long experience as a candidate.
- Social support: The US candidacy created a controversy among fans because Mexico and Canada will host only 10 games each, while the United States will have the 60 most important. This must be taken into account in South America: social support is essential, since the economic situation, the distribution of headquarters and parties can be factors with negative consequences for the candidacy.
Latin American Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
Translated from "Mundial 2030: Estos son los retos de Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay si adelantan la elección"