‘Fútbol’s coming home’, the Spaniard could mockingly say to the face of the Englishman. The emblem chorus of the England national football team ‘football’s coming home’ was first used in 1996 to emphasize the fact that the country was hosting the European Championship that year. It has been resounding biennially on the island ever since, regardless of the location of the Euro/World Cup, with a new meaning attributed to it: that England will win the respective major tournament. So, for the students at IEU, football (better, fútbol) is coming home, at least if we consider the song’s original connotation; who knows, maybe it is also coming home in respect of the chant’s present sense.
So much to say for a silly tune. Even so, ‘football’s coming home’ conserves yet another message: in 1863, the English invented the modern rules of ‘The Beautiful Game’. For the purpose of amusement, one can equate inventing the sport to ‘inventing’ the World Cup. The first World Cup was hosted in Uruguay, in 1930, celebrating the state’s centenary of independence. Ironically, England declined Uruguay’s offer to participate – at the time, they feared that losing an international football game would contaminate their image as a global superpower, hence deeming it too risky to play. In 2030, one hundred years after 1930, on the occasion of the World Cup’s centenary –and of Uruguay’s bicentenary – football is coming home more than ever…fútbol is returning to La Patria, Uruguay.
But does the headline of this article not read that Spain will host the World Cup 2030? Yes, it does, and it is not fake news: the 2030 World Cup will be co-hosted by Spain and Uruguay – together. And they are not alone: they will be joined by two fellow Hispanic nations, Argentina and Paraguay, as well as Morocco and Portugal. In seven summers, football will be ‘coming home’ for many nations. Specifically, Uruguay will host the opening match, and the second and third games will be held in Argentina and Paraguay, respectively. The rest of the competition will be in Morocco, Portugal, and Spain. The venue of the final is yet to be chosen.
The sole previous example of a co-hosted World Cup was Japan-South Korea in 2002. It is unorthodox for the World Cup to be hosted in two countries, let alone six of them spanning three continents! Yet, not everything about the World Cup 2030 will not conform to tradition. Above all, the hosts will qualify for the tournament automatically, without having to go through the fuss (and pitfalls) of qualifiers.
Apart from the Spaniards, the predominant nationality at IEU, a word must be put in for the Arabs in the community, who combined are perhaps more numerous than the very Spaniards. Recently, for the occasion of Qatar 2022, the latter have harmoniously cheered Morocco through its fourth-place run, the best of an African team in World Cup history. The Arabs will be delighted to hear that football is coming home to the Arab world relatively soon as well. Moreover, they will be more than pleased by another novel announcement by F.I.F.A., namely, that for World Cup 2034, the football governing body will consider a bid from Saudi Arabia. Experts claim that it is rather probable that the 2034 spectacle will be hosted in the aforementioned realm.
Already in World Cup 2022, we have witnessed criticism by the people regarding its organization in the desert of Qatar due to environmental concerns, among others. F.I.F.A.’s imminent verdict for World Cup 2034 will likely be publicly condemned for similar reasons. There is widespread disapproval on the environmental (and traditional) behalf also concerning World Cup 2030, given its introduction in six distinct countries. Nevertheless, although the decision still has to be officialised through ratification at a F.I.F.A. congress the following year, that is merely a formality: World Cup 2030 will be primarily in Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, with its first three matches in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay.