ASUNCION (Reuters) - Paraguay has joined forces with Argentina and Uruguay in a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup finals, President Horacio Cartes said on Thursday.
“I can confirm that we, the Presidents of #Paraguay #Argentina and #Uruguay have agreed to fight for the nomination of 2030 football World Cup,” Cartes said in a tweet.
The announcement was backed up by his countryman, Alejandro Dominguez, who is president of South American Football Confederation, Conmebol.
“The president is going to fight because the World Cup is coming back to where it originated 100 years ago,” Dominguez said at a news conference, in reference to the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930.
“For Conmebol, bringing this back is priority number one.”
Although no official details were revealed, local news reports said Argentina would have six host cities or stadiums, while Uruguay and Paraguay would have three each.
The joint bid is the first concrete one for the 2030 tournament.
Paraguay is unaccustomed to hosting major sporting events, the last of which was the Copa America in 1999, and the bid was met with scorn by the country’s most famous footballer.
Goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, the former national team captain famous for scoring penalties and free kicks, called the bid “bread and circus” — a phrase sometimes used to refer to appeasement of the people through distraction.
“Dominguez, Paraguay doesn’t need a World Cup. It needs hospitals, schools, infrastructure,” the retired former Velez Sarsfield and Penarol keeper said.
“We have to be realistic. We are a small country. There are many areas that are in a bad way where nothing is being done and these are the priorities for our people.”
Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar four years
later. Host nations for the subsequent competitions have yet to be decided.
Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Andrew Downie Editing by Jeremy Gaunt, Neville Dalton