The announcement on Monday by the four British and Irish federations that they will not compete to host the Soccer World Cup of 2030 paved much the way to Spain Y Portugal in its purpose of jointly hosting this event, the second most important in world sport after the Olympic Games Of summer.
The Iberian candidacy has swept the European competitionwhich was the one they feared the most. The logic of world football dictates that the Old Continent, in a certain way, has to organize this event, which in this year's edition moves to Asia (Taste) and in four to North America (USA, Canada and Mexico).
Triumphalism does not prevail in the Spanish and Portuguese federations, but optimism does. Right now, the only real threat could come from South America, with a joint bid from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay that the pandemic has so far left on 'stand-by'.
The option of Moroccowhose inclusion in the Iberian candidacy was seriously valued and then discarded, is not scary and it does not seem likely that other African or Asian options will arise either.
Football diplomacy also brings peace of mind to Spain and Portugal, who have the support of Aleksander Ceferin so that 55 votes Europeans will end up with his proposal and also with the guarantee that the countries of the Middle East will give him their blessing, thanks to the steps taken by Luis Rubiales in Saudi Arabia and the agreement with that country to host the Spanish Super Cup.
The two federations have been working for several years to shape the bid and one of the central aspects of it is the selection of the stadiums that will host the World Cup matches.
FIFA does not require a specific number of venues and in fact they vary depending on the editions. In 2014 and 2018, the matches were played in 12 furlongs different, while this year in Qatar they will only do so in eight. Looking ahead to 2026, with the appointment extended to 48 teams, there will be a total of 16 scenarios between the US (11), Mexico (three) and Canada (two).
Spain and Portugal must present in 2024, the year of the election of the venue, a proposal for stadiums that could exceed the total number. That is to say, they could present for approval a list of 20 fields from which 15 were finally chosen, to give an example.
Of course, not all fields work. Although not yet published requirements that FIFA will require for the 2030 World Cup stadiums, those established for the one that will be held four years earlier, awarded to the USA, Canada and Mexico, serve as a guide.
All stadiums hosting World Cup matches must have a capacity of at least 40,000 spectatorsa requirement that is currently met by 11 Spanish golf courses (Anoeta Y Cornella are at the limit) and three Portuguese, two in Lisbon and one in Port.
The demands increase for the semifinals, which must be held in stadiums with a capacity greater than 60,000 seats. Both the final and the opening match will have to be played on pitches with at least 80,000 seats.
Throughout the peninsula, only the Camp Nou and the Santiago Bernabeu meet this last requirement, so the logical thing is for the World Cup to open in Barcelona and close in Madrid, as happened in 1982. gives light it is, with about 65,000 seats, the largest field in Portugal right now.
The process of choosing stadiums is still in a very preliminary phase, although the RFEF has already appointed a work team, which is already in operation, to evaluate all the possibilities, although there are still eight years left for the possible celebration of the World Cup .
In a first approximation, it is evident that almost all the potential candidate stages need a deep remodeling. only the Metropolitan (Madrid), San Mames (Bilbao), Anoeta (San Sebastian) and maybe Cornellà-El Pratall of them built or remodeled in the last 13 years, seem at the moment fully suitable for an event of this magnitude.
The main jewel of the World Cup will be the Santiago Bernabeu, whose comprehensive remodeling is underway and should be completed over the next year and a half, turning the Real Madrid stadium into one of the best and most modern sports venues in the world. The logical thing is that Madrid is a double venue, also with the Metropolitan.
More doubts, in terms of execution and deadlines, presents the project to remodel the Camp Nou. The last date announced by Barcelona for its completion is 2025, although the work has not yet started nor has its financing been closed. However, there would still be five years of margin until the World Cup.
Seville, Valencia... Zaragoza?
The remodeling of Charterhouse, the stadium that has hosted the last Copa del Rey finals, is also planned, with the idea of modernizing what was going to be the Olympic stadium and eliminating the athletics tracks. Seville has three potentially suitable stadiums, but it remains to be seen if there is more than one that will host the World Cup.
Another of the never-ending stories is that of the New Mestalla, which began to be built in 2007 until it was stopped in February 2009. The last calendar presented by Valencia de peter lim to complete the construction states that the works will resume in the fall and that the site will be inaugurated in 2024.
Although for the eternal project of Saragossa and remodeling or replacement of The Romareda. An idea that has been studied in Aragon for at least two decades, without ever going beyond paper projects that were finally discarded. Less than a month ago, Mayor Jorge Azcón announced a new project to build a stadium of at least 40,000 viewers.
The RFEF expects that, as the World Cup candidacy takes shape and the date of the candidacies approaches, more cities and autonomous communities will put on the table projects for the construction or remodeling of stadiums that will allow them to host matches, as has already happened in 1982.
Which? From the offices of the federation, avoid conjecture, but the potential candidates are the obvious ones: the Saragossa, A Coruna, Vigo, Palma, Alicante, Malaga, Valladolid, Gijon...
The money that many CVC clubs are receiving will help improve infrastructure, but it will not be enough in the vast majority of cases to undertake the works that an event like the World Cup requires. The intervention of public institutions will be necessary, although in the RFEF they have the peace of mind of the full support that the government of Pedro Sanchez has granted to the World Cup bid.