After Qatar, will we ever see another “solo” host of a World Cup? | World Cup 2022

On Sunday, December 18, the curtain will fall on the most controversial World Cup of all time. In Qatar, France are hoping to win back-to-back titles, Brazil will be aiming for their 6th success and England are desperate for football to return home, but the end of the Qatar World Cup could also mean the end of an era. . for the greatest football competition.

This will be the last 32-team World Cup to feature four-team group stages as we know them, but perhaps more importantly, it could be the last time we see a single country hosting the tournament. The exorbitant cost of staging the event for a lonely nation is enormous, hence why Russia and Qatar won the votes, with the first-ever Arab World Cup set to reach $220 billion.

Considering how small the country is, the stadiums they’ve had to build as well as the entire cities, hotels and apartments that have been built, this is by far the most expensive World Cup of all. time. Only the extremely wealthy state could afford such an expense for the month-long tournament, and while a more established soccer nation could host it on their own for a fraction of the cost, we seem to be walking away from that idea.

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Previously, Japan and South Korea in 2002 were the only joint hosts of the World Cup, but that will change in 2026 as Canada, the United States and Mexico share the tournament. There is an outcry of excitement about these host countries and what should be a spectacular event, but the longest distance between two host cities will break all records.

Essentially, we are heading towards a situation where an entire continent hosts the quadrennial tournament. North America will host in 2026, and 2030 should also be a special year as we celebrate the centenary of the Men’s World Cup. Uruguay hosted and won the first-ever tournament, which featured 13 teams, with Romania, France and Brazil all heading to Uruguay on the same boat.

A century later, it’s a different world, but the most likely destination for 2030 remains the same. However, this time, Uruguay’s bid comes with beaten 1930 runners-up Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. Brazil may have hosted in 2014, but it will be South America’s World Cup.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which this offer doesn’t win, but the other possibilities also bolster the argument that the years of lonely hosts are behind us. Romania, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria present an offer, while Spain and Portugal offer an Iberian option. Saudi Arabia could get involved in a joint bid, while Morocco are the only lone hosts in contention and have a strong chance as the World Cup could return to Africa for only the second time in its history, with several big names stadiums already in place. in the country.

Whether Morocco wins the bid or not, it feels like the trend is towards multiple hosts, but is that a good thing? We saw at Euro 2020 the inequality that having multiple hosts provided. The four semi-finalists, Denmark, England, Spain and Italy have all played three group games at home and even in the Covid-stricken world it has clearly had an impact.

If England were to hold a tournament again, it would not be limited to just England as hosts. The bid to host Euro 2028 is now a proposal from the UK and Ireland, which is a stronger bid considering the stadiums and footballing heritage on offer in Scotland, Wales and in Ireland.

But as we move into the 21st century, football must also take greater responsibility for its carbon footprint. In the midst of a pandemic, organizing a tournament across an entire continent was stupid, without considering the additional environmental impact.

UEFA planned to plant 600,000 trees, but has planted less than 10% of that number so far. For FIFA, the enormous distances that will be covered during the 2026 World Cup will have to be addressed. The group stages will probably be shared geographically which will help, but this tournament will still leave a bitter taste in the mouths of environmentalists.

For all the moral issues with the Qatar World Cup, and there are many, the trip will be short considering it is in a country smaller than Wales. However, the environmental costs of building cities, hotels and stadiums must also be considered before hosts boast.

So what does the future of the World Cup look like? More teams, more money, more host countries. Even though FIFA is determined to take the game globally, the sheer cost of hosting a World Cup means we could see the resurgence of some more established nations in terms of hosting. Euro 2024 in Germany would certainly suggest that is the case, although UEFA have been less chaotic than FIFA in the past and have a smaller pool of nations to choose from.

If we look at the nations that have yet to host the World Cup, Australia, who have bid for the 2022 tournament, still looks like a solid option, but they could team up with New Zealand or even Indonesia in 2034. China would make financial sense. and might be a country that can host on its own, but after the Chinese Super League madness, it feels like they aren’t as bold in terms of football growth as they once were.

If anything, another African host would make more sense. Morocco in 2030 or Nigeria, Egypt or Zimbabwe in 2034 have all expressed strong interest in hosting the event – and a North African World Cup would mark another first for FIFA.

Although the “Solo World Cup” seems old-fashioned right now, it’s certainly not dead. The African continent will almost certainly provide a wonderful host nation, while there are still plenty of people to explore.

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