Ukrainian World Cup bid confirmed
Ukraine is officially joining a bid by Spain and Portugal to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, it has been confirmed by the football authorities of the three countries.
News of the joint bid emerged earlier this week, when The Times reported that Ukraine would be incorporated into existing Spanish and Portuguese plans to host the tournament.
The football federations of the three nations issued statements on Wednesday confirming the move.
“The Royal Spanish Football Federation and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) have incorporated the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) to the Iberian Candidacy to organize the 2030 World Cup,” read a message from the Spanish football authorities.
“The proposal has the unconditional support of UEFA in a global and transformative project of European football in an exceptional situation.”
The plans are said to be backed by the governments of the respective countries.
According to The Times, Ukrainian involvement would potentially see one of the groups at the tournament being played in the country.
“The terms of Ukraine’s participation in the application will be discussed and determined later,” read a statement from the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF).
Russia successfully hosted the 2018 World Cup across 12 stadiums in 11 cities.
The next edition of the FIFA showpiece will be played in Qatar in November and December of this year.
The 2026 tournament – which will be enlarged to feature 48 teams – will be jointly hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Competition to win hosting rights for the 2030 World Cup is expected to be fierce, with a joint bid coming from South American quartet Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia is reportedly eyeing a joint campaign with Greece and Egypt. Morocco has also stated its intention to bid for the football showpiece, possibly alongside Tunisia and Algeria.
The official decision on hosting rights will be revealed at a FIFA Congress in 2024, where member associations will put the matter to a vote.
Ukraine has experience of hosting a major football tournament before, teaming up with Poland to hold the 2012 UEFA European Championship.
That event took place in very different circumstances, however, with the current plans being announced amid the backdrop of the conflict with Russia.
Russian official Vyacheslav Koloskov – who is honorary president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and a former FIFA vice-president – said earlier this week that Ukraine was aiming to promote itself and its future, but described the campaign as “unrealistic.”
“I personally see this as a PR campaign, it makes sense to promote themselves, what they think about the future of the country, the federation, football, and so on,” said Koloskov.
“But I repeat that this is unlikely to happen,” added the official.