Europe could go three cycles without World Cup

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The FIFA council is expected to rule on a precedent that could allow China to bid for the 2030 World Cup, or make the Asian nation wait another four years to potentially host the tournament.

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Currently, federations are eligible to bid on a world cup provided that it’s been at least one cycle since it was hosted on that continent. With FIFA working to spread the game around the world, it’s given hosting duties to Russia and Qatar and previously, South Korea and Japan.

However, while Europe, which technically “hosted” the World Cup in 2018 in Russia, was technically allowed to have a nation bid for the 2026 World Cup, it was discouraged to give the United States-Canada-Mexico bid a better chance. That leaves European nations bidding hard for the right to host the 2030 World Cup, with joint bids between Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile, as well as Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia already on the table, as well as a solo bid from Morocco.

And yet, if FIFA allows China to bid for the 2030 World Cup, the AP reports it would be the favorite to land the tournament. In terms of mainland Europe, that would leave the continent without a World Cup since 2006.

Maybe it’s due, considering that Europe hosted the World Cup every eight years under previous regimes, with Germany, France, Italy, Spain, West Germany and England all hosting between 1966 and 2006. England has considered a bid that could join with Wales, Scotland and Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but has not announced one yet.

Per FIFA president Gianni Infantino, a decision on the recent precedent to have confederations wait two cycles before bidding will be made at the next FIFA Council meeting in October in Shanghai, China.