UEFA against Morocco being part of Spain-Portugal WCup bid
DUBLIN (AP) — European soccer's leadership is against Spain and Portugal combining with Morocco to bid for the 2030 World Cup.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, who has previously praised plans for a British Isles tournament, said Monday he would not back a nation from another continent being involved in a European bid.
"I'm not in favor of cross-confederation bids," Ceferin said.
Ceferin expressed irritation that politicians were involved in announcing bidding plans. Spain's prime minister floated the possibility of bidding with Portugal and Morocco, while a political summit was used by leaders of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia to declare their intentions to enter a joint proposal.
"Someone should say once to the politicians it's not up to them to speak if they will be hosts of the Euros or the World Cup or not," Ceferin said. "I've seen many politicians saying we will be candidate for this and that ... for sports events they will have to speak to their national associations."
The English Football Association is leading a feasibility study into a British Isles bid featuring Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. England is already hosting seven games, including the semifinals and final, at the continent-wide 2020 European Championship. England was confirmed Monday as the host of the Women's European Championship in 2021.
"I will do whatever I can to have only one European bid for the World Cup," Ceferin said, "because that raises the chances of Europe hosting the World Cup extremely."
Europe just hosted the tournament in Russia, but the 2022 World Cup is in Qatar and the 2026 edition is in North America.
South America is looking to the centenary World Cup in 2030, with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay already announcing a joint proposal. But in a setback to the bid, CONMEBOL has been forced to move the twice-postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final from Buenos Aires to Madrid because it cannot find anywhere safe enough in South America.
"It tells you a lot that we can organize (soccer) in Europe without any problems," Ceferin said.
Ceferin was speaking after a meeting of the UEFA executive committee, which confirmed video review would be fast-tracked in the Champions League and be introduced from the round of 16.
Without video assistant referees this season in the group stage, Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off for Juventus after a disputed decision and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling won a penalty for tripping on the turf.
"I am delighted about that," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "Football is a game of mistakes, basically, a game of mistakes ... that's why we work a lot to avoid that mistake. The referee wants to make a good job. With VAR we have an extra help with difficult decisions that are fast."