Poyet: Uruguay must host centenary World Cup

By Sports Desk September 10, 2023

Uruguay should be the front-runner to host the centennial World Cup in 2030, according to former Uruguayan international Gus Poyet.

The South American country hosted the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1930 and went on to win their first of two World Cups on that occasion.

In 2017, the Uruguayan and Argentine football associations announced their intentions to submit a joint bid to host the 2030 edition, with fellow South American countries Chile and Paraguay subsequently joining the proposal.

Spain, Portugal, Ukraine and Morocco have launched a rival bid to host the tournament but Poyet believes that the tournament’s history should be respected.

"I thought it was natural that Uruguay could be the perfect place to play the World Cup in 2030," Poyet told Stats Perform.

"Do we have the capacity as a country to hold the World Cup? No. So it needs to be shared with someone around – Argentina, Chile or Paraguay. 

"The problem is, I used to remember a long time ago when somebody told me that football without politics has gone; it had died. We depend so much on the politics of the country.

"Until the politicians agree, football is not coming together. So I think it would be a shame if it is not in Uruguay, at least one group, maybe two groups."

A proposal has also been put forward by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for the World Cup to be hosted every two years. The plan – backed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino – has received widespread criticism, with Poyet also opposed to the suggestion.

"I would keep it [as four years], I don't want World Cups every two years," Poyet said.

"I think becoming a world champion is difficult, it takes four years and if you don't [win it], you need to wait another four years. It is like the Olympic Games, it is not like you can have another chance in two years' time."

On the pitch, Uruguay continued their unbeaten start under new coach Marcelo Bielsa. Having won two friendlies against Nicaragua and Cuba back in June, La Celeste got their 2026 World Cup qualification campaign up and running with a convincing 3-1 defeat of Chile.

Uruguay last won the World Cup in 1950, recording three fourth-place finishes since then, but Poyet is excited by Bielsa's start and the prospects of the national team under the tutelage of the 68-year-old Argentine.

"In the first game, people went, 'Wow what is going on without the old group of players' and the second game it was a little bit more natural," Poyet said.

"Everybody is desperate to know the 25 players he is going to pick. People think they know but they don't because Marcelo Bielsa is unique and he is different, he is totally a unique case and they're going to be surprises and some deceptions as well, so I think everybody's excited and looking forward to seeing what he's going to bring to the national team."

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