1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay Final: Uruguay 4-2 Argentina. Uruguay Captain Jose Nasazzi (L) meets Argentina's Manuel Ferreira before the Final. (Photo courtesy of FIFA)
Indeed, it was Uruguay who hosted and won the inaugural world cup in 1930, having been selected as hosts due to their being reigning Olympic champions from 1928 and to commemorate the country’s 100th anniversary since independence. The infamous Estadio Centenario was built especially for the tournament, and, with a capacity of over 100,000, it was at the time the largest stadium outside of the UK. Having been described by Jules Rimet as a “temple of football”, it acted as an intimidating fortress for the Uruguayan national team. It led Francisco Varallo, an Argentine who played in the final, to remark: “I can still remember the euphoria that reigned in the stands. It was a blow I’ve spent my entire life trying to forget.”
In 19 years time is the centenary of the first world cup and humble back-room discussions of it being played once again in Uruguay began to take shape in the early 1990s. The first formal discussions took place in October 2005 when FIFA president Sepp Blatter visited the Uruguay to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 1930 world cup. He met with then Uruguayan president Tabaré Vázquez who suggested the idea of the country hosting the tournament jointly with another Mercosur (a regional trade bloc) nation.
Sepp Blatter said of the meeting: “The president told me his dream of seeing this tournament hosted in the region. I told him that today’s dream could be tomorrow’s vision, which in turn could become a proper initiative and finally a project.”
The 1930 competition was a much smaller affair compared to modern times as many European teams refused to make the journey to Uruguay. A total of 32 teams played 64 matches in ten stadiums in the 2010 tournament in South Africa – significantly more than the 13 teams who competed in 18 matches in 1930. And in only three stadia were used – the Centenario, Estadio Pocitos (a small ground with capacity for just 1,000 supporters) and the Estadio Parque Central with room for around 25,000 fans.
Two years later, in October 2007, Julio Grondona, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), accepted an invitation to be part of the project: “The AFA unanimously approved applying for your initiative to jointly organise the FIFA World Championship 2030. Undoubtedly, to crystallize this purpose will lead to further deepen the friendly ties that forever bind the two countries, and hence sports and government officials on both sides of the Río de la Plata will work together in order to meet the final goal of hosting the 2030 World Cup.”
Later that month, support was also received from CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation. And in June 2010, a day before the start of the 2010 World Cup, the bid was officially proposed to Sepp Blatter in Johannesburg.
Further support was received earlier this month as the discussions were taken to the highest level – it was discussed at a presidential summit between Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and José Mujica.
Working closely together and taking the opportunity to build closer relationships between the countries was the main motivation here. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner commented “One of the keys is not only dialogue and integration, but also association, because being a member helps all sides win,” while José Mujica sees a point the countries need to prove: “For too many decades we have lived with our backs turned to each other in Latin America, always looking toward Europe, always admiring what’s far away. Now the time has come to take notice that our future will be determined with our neighbours, that we suffer from the same difficulties, and that we escape them together or not at all.”
Aside from the opportunity for the world cup to be jointly hosted by one of the oldest football rivalries, other benefits to the countries have been highlighted.
Hector Lescano, Uruguayan tourism and sports minister, said: “Organising a World Cup gives a chance to promote the countries, to promote tourism, culture, to boost infrastructure, transport, communications and nowadays it would be impossible for Uruguay to do it on its own, but jointly with Argentina, it’s different and a great chance.”
Uruguay’s Tourism and Sports minister Hector Lescano said: “Motivation is very strong: its none less than the centennial of the first world cup, which had as finalists our two countries. This should be an unbeatable argument for hosting the event.”
A potential competitor for the 2030 world cup is an ambitious consortium of the ten south-east Asian countries that form the ASEAN regional body. “This is a good way to boost our unity,” explained ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan. The idea does resonate with FIFA’s aim to take football to new parts of the world and ASEAN have been quick to point out that football is already well-established in Latin America. ASEAN also denounce logistical issues as problems: “I think we will be integrated as a region by 2030. I am optimistic that distances won’t hamper our ambitions.”
Only one other world cup has been jointly hosted – the 2002 tournament held in Japan and South Korea. Both countries initially pursued separate bids but joined forces shortly before the vote. The tournament was hailed as a success and raised the profiles of both countries, but due to initial difficulties regarding decisions of where to hold the important games and the naming of the tournament, FIFA declared joint bids would be accepted in the future.
Mixed messages have been received since then. The Libya and Tunisia joint bid for the 2010 tournament was disregarded out of hand. But then joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands, and from Portugal and Spain for the 2018 and 2022 world cups respectively were accepted by FIFA.
1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay Final: Uruguay 4-2 Argentina's Jose Nasazzi and Manuel Ferreira of Argentina lead their teams out for the Final. (Photo courtesy of FIFA)
With explicit support from FIFA, and the fact that Grondona is both close friends with Blatter and a senior FIFA vice-president, would appear to put the bid in good stead. But, money will have to be spent on infrastructure.
The average stadia capacity in South Africa was 51, 500 with an average match attendance of 49,500. Compare this with the average capacity of the seven Argentine stadia used for the Copa América of 40,250 and it becomes clear that facilities will need to be expanded to cope with the additional fans. Even the Estadio Centennial can now fit only 66,000 fans, while there are just another five stadia in Uruguay with a capacity over 20,000.
A previous attempt to host the centenary of a major global event in the first host country went awry in the 1990s. Athens, founder of the ancient Olympics and the location of the inaugural modern Olympics in 1896, lobbied furiously for the competition to be held there in 1996, but the decision controversially went in favour of Atlanta in the US. Greece had to wait a further eight years for the Olympics to return home.
However, this time it appears Uruguay and Argentina have set out their stalls early with FIFA and have high level support both domestically and across Latin America.
In 1930, Uruguayan captain Jose Nasazzi said: “In the days leading up to the final, you could already tell the Centenario would be completely packed. We knew it was our big chance to beat Argentina, with whom we enjoyed a fierce rivalry at the time. And that’s what happened. The atmosphere and our fighting spirit overwhelmed the Argentines.”
This passion among the fans and players remains both in Uruguay and Argentina. A world cup based around the Río de la Plata would be a mouth-watering prospect. It is too bad we will have to wait until the end of the decade to discover if the bid is successful.
Presided by Dr. Nicolás Leoz, the meeting of presidents of National Associations and members of the Executive Committee of CONMEBOL took place at the house of South American football, this Wednesday, November 25.
The following presidents participated: Carlos Chávez (Bolivia), Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil), Harold Mayne-Nicholls (Chile), Luis Bedoya (Colombia), Luis Chiriboga (Ecuador), Juan Angel Napout (Paraguay), Manuel Burga (Peru), Sebastian Bauzá (Uruguay), Rafael Esquivel (Venezuela); and the following members of the Executive Committee: Eugenio Figueredo (vice-president, Uruguay), Eduardo Deluca (general secretary, Argentina), Rómer Osuna (treasurer, Bolivia), and directors Nicolás Delfino (Peru) and Francisco Acosta (Ecuador).
Greetings and welcome
The President of CONMEBOL welcomed the new president of the Uruguayan Football Association, Dr. Sebastian Bauzá, wishing him success in the sport and institutional achievements during his management. He also requested an applause for the five national teams qualified to the World Cup of South Africa 2010, with the certainty that they will honor the prestige of South American football in the maximum football meet.
Argentina and Uruguay 2030
Unanimously, the presidents of the South American associations and members of the Executive Committee gave their total support to the combined candidacy of the Argentine Football Association and of the Uruguayan Football Association, to organize the World Cup of the year 2030, when a century since the realization of the first FIFA ecumenical meet will be completed, in which both associations played the final.
Taken From: Conmebol
Jose Luis Corbo, president of the Uruguayan Football Association (A.U.F.), unveiled a commemorative plaque on completing the World 2030 in Uruguay, which was sent by the members of the Legislature Branch. Its is our dream.
Commemorating the centennial of the first World Cup that was played in Uruguay in1930, A.U.F. proposed to FIFA that the event takes place in nations of Mercosur.
Jose Luis Corbo, President of the A.U.F., in occasion of friendly game that Uruguay and Colombia ties 2-2 past 6th February, 2008 , unveiled a commemorative plaque in Centenario Stadium to commemorate 2030 World Cup in Uruguay, sent by members of Legislative Branch.
The raise was made in Spain by Enrique Iglesias (Ibero-American Secretary General),
Fernando Gonzalez (Director of Tourism of the Mayor of Montevideo) and Gabriel Weiss
(President of the Departmental Board of Montevideo).
"The idea is to be capital cities such as Tenerife, Cadiz, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, where there is Carnival. Iglesias welcomed the initiative," said Weiss to El Pais Newpaper from Uruguay.
During his trip to Spain, Weiss also issued its proposal that Uruguay and Argentina are co-organizers of the 2030 World Cup. He met with the uruguayan striker Diego Forlán and he argentinian Jorge Valdano: "Both are ready to create the first committee outside the country of Uruguay and Argentina for 2030 World Cup. Valdano found the idea wonderful," said Weiss.
"We are particularly pleased that this aspiration has been host, unanimously, by the ten members of the Conmebol (South American Football Associations) ".
"With great pleasure, FIFA has taken note of the intention of the Uruguayan Football Association (A.U.F.) and the Argentinian Football Association (A.F.A.) to submit a joint candidacy", said the letter sent by Joseph Blatter to Jose Luis Corbo, President of A.U.F.
Dear President of Uruguayan Football Association
Dr. Jose Luis Corbo
I am pleased to address you and through you to all members of the Uruguayan Football Association, in response to your note of last 8th October, 2007 with the purpose to inform you that the Executive Committee of the Argentinian Football Associatian in the meeting held yesterday, approved unanimously nominating your initiative to organize togheter 2030 FIFA World Cup.
There is no doubt that to crystallize this purpose, will reinforce the friendship that join forever both countries, so the government and sports authorities from both sides of the "Rio de La Plata" must work together in the way we approach the final goal of 2030.
Meanwhile, I greet you with warmth and affection.
Julio H. GrondonaPresident of Argentinian Football Asocciation
The poster was located in the Colombes Grandstand of Centenario Stadium for the first match in Uruguay for Qualyfing Games to 2010 South Africa World Cup 2010, that Uruguay by 5-0 to Bolivia and shows what it is: "Uruguay 2030, Our Dream ".
The idea was raised by the Mayor of Montevideo to Buenos Aires Government, said Gabriel Weiss, President of the Departmental Board Mayor of Montevideo , after meeting with them.
"It would be important to consider this utopia, this dream that makes our country has in his horizon can live a collective adventure " Weiss said at a press conference. He added that "many times people are going to Uruguay, not only because of economic problems," but because certain features that can make the country appear as "gray and dull."
Weiss recalled that these efforts began in 2005 when the Board itself departmental, raised the proposal to the Mayor of Montevideo. Then began contacts with the Government of Buenos Aires, which received a positive initiative, he added.
He also indicated that Vazquez expressed his appreciation for this project and reminded him that he had formalized the intention, during the visit of President of Fifa, Joseph Blatter to our country.
Also, Weiss reported that already requested an interview with Uruguayan Football Association (A.U.F.) and started contacts with Uruguayan and Argentine entrepreneurs.
He also will talk with the authorities of the Argentinian Government, Buenos Aires Government and the Argentinian Football Association (A.F.A.) and authorities of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) and the several Football Associations of South America to the effect that this approach has a component stronger.
In the exchange of views, Weis also proposed that any shortfall in infrastructure that could have been in Uruguay, could be overcome by sharing the organization of the Cup with Argentina, and organize something similar to what happened with Korea and Japan in the 2002 World Cup
Weiss also has de approval for the nomination by the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Hector Lescano.
He recalled that Joseph Blatter had raised his intention that the 2030 World Cup could be done in countries of Mercosur: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay joined Venezuela shortly.
President of Uruguay, Tabare Vazquez proposed to Joseph Blater the candidature of Mercosur countries for 2030 World Cup
The President of Uruguay Tabare Vazquez, in a meeting with the President of FIFA Joseph Blatter, propused him that the MERCOSUR countries will be host for 2030 World Cup, which Blatter described as "a dream that can become a vision, then an initiative and after a project" .
The President of the Republic, Tabare Vazquez, received in his residence the President of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, visiting our country with a delegation of soccer personalities, domestic and foreign, representatives of almost all continents.
This was described as "a meeting of friends of football, it was alluded the 75 aniversary of the creation of the Centenario Stadium and the first World Cup and was a occasion to talk about the value of football.
Blatter reported that Vazquez presented an idea for 2030, the centenary of the first World Cup, that MERCOSUR countries organize World Cup.
"For the President is a dream, but a dream can become a vision, a vision after an initiative and after a project," said the President of FIFA.
"The 2014 World Cup was awarded to the South American Football Confederation, which means that some national associations could submit an application; Vazquez also confirmed its support to local football," added Blatter.
Blatter explained that at the hearing was presented by the 205 national associations, a special plaque to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, through its President, as well as a film that was made to commemorate the first World Cup and from the Executive Committee by the President of FIFA, a medal commemorating 100 aniversary of that institution.