Portugal surprised by talk of joint World Cup bid with Spain, Morocco
Lisbon : Portugal's prime minister said that his government has had no official word from Madrid about joining with Spain and Morocco in a bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
"It's an uncertain idea that has never been officially proposed to us. When it is, naturally we will have to study it," Antonio Costa told Efe in an interview on Monday, adding that while hosting the World Cup could be beneficial, it would also be "expensive."
He said that his government would have to consult with the Portuguese soccer federation and with the country's other political parties, given that "a commitment so far in the future" requires consensus.
Relations among Portugal, Spain and Morocco are of "enormous strategic importance" and have the potential to bring greater dynamism to the dialogue between Europe and Africa, the prime minister said.
"From that point of view, I haven't the slightest doubt about the importance of strengthening the triangular relationship of our countries," Costa said. "There are various ways to do that and certainly talking among the three of us we will find ways to give them expression and put them into practice."
The idea of a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup was raised by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez earlier Monday during talks in Rabat with Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine El Othmani.
So far, the only official application to host the 2030 event has come from Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, whose bid is seen as a strong one as the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo was the venue for the inaugural World Cup in 1930.
Spain, site of the 1982 World Cup, and Portugal, who hosted the 2004 EuroCup, joined in an unsuccessful bid for the 2018 World Cup, which was instead awarded to Russia.
More recently, Morocco lost out to a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico in the contest for the 2026 World Cup.
Renewed impetus for Spain's ambition to host a major soccer tournament, whether the 2028 EuroCup or the 2030 World Cup, came from a meeting in Madrid last month among Sanchez, Spanish soccer federation head Luis Rubiales and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.