England dealt blow with bid as Uruguay head the queue for finals
USA set to host tournament in 2026 – 32 years after previous honour
Russia and Qatar have already secured the next two tournaments
Uruguay are in line to host the World Cup before England even come under consideration.
Despite serial biter Luis Suarez shaming his country in Brazil and President Jose Mujica calling the FIFA hierarchy ‘old sons of bitches’, Uruguay are favourites to host the finals in 2030.
With the United States already earmarked for 2026, following Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, that makes 2034 the earliest possible date for England to have any hope of staging its second World Cup.
FIFA are acutely aware that Uruguay have not staged the finals for almost a century, even though they have won the World Cup twice and reached the semi-finals on three other occasions.
The difficulty of taking the tournament back to the land of its inaugural hosts and winners — in 1930 — is that Uruguay is a small country with a population of only just over 3.3 million.
That is where Argentina come in. The concept is for Uruguay’s neighbours to be co-hosts. Although FIFA have always expressed some resistance to joint hosting, a precedent was set by the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea.
In fact, a successful two-nation event in South America would be more bad news for England.
While the tournament is due to return to Europe 20 years from now, FIFA are conscious also that Holland, three-time finalists, have yet to hold the finals.
However, the emergence of Belgium as a competitive nation encourages the prospect of those two neighbours being given the honour.
FIFA also await China, with its huge population and massive commercial market, declaring they are ready. The World Cup’s quadrennial global rotation is not set in stone and the economic power house of the People’s Republic could come into contention for 2034.
If all three of the US, Holland-Belgium and China are allocated different tournaments in the foreseeable future, England and the entire African Continent will be out of the running until the second half of this century.