Ukraine has joined Spain and Portugal in a combined bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
The presidents of the three countries’ football federations announced the project at a press conference in Switzerland on Wednesday.
“The project aims to inspire society through football, sending out a message of solidarity and hope,” the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement.
“I am convinced that the whole of Spanish society will be proud of the important legacy that this bid leaves for history,” RFEF president Luis Rubiales told reporters at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.
“We each represent our countries separately, but together we represent the transformative power that football has on society.”
“It is no longer the Iberian Candidature, it is now the European Candidature,” he said, describing it as a “historic day”.
Fernando Gomes, head of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), added that the project had been approved by the three states’ governments and was supported by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“The example of tenacity and resilience shown by the Ukrainian people is a source of inspiration,” the FPF said in its statement.
“The terms of Ukraine’s membership of this bid will be discussed and defined in due course,” it added.
Spain and Portugal have been collaborating and preparing their bid together for almost three years. The president of the Ukrainian Football Federation (UAF), Andriy Pavelko, was also present at the announcement.
Ukraine co-hosted the 2012 European Championship in four cities — Kyiv, Lviv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv — alongside Poland.
Both Donetsk and Kharkiv have been bombarded or occupied by Russian forces following the invasion by Moscow in February. Ukraine’s national team and leading clubs are currently unable to host games in international competitions because of the security risk.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will begin on November 20 in Qatar, while the 2026 edition of the tournament will be played in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
FIFA has given no formal timetable to choose a host for the 48-team tournament in 2030, but the governing body has promised a decision in 2024. Voting would involve about 200 FIFA member federations.
The Portugal-Spain-Ukraine bid is expected to face competition from South America with co-hosts Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Uruguay hosted and won the inaugural World Cup, 100 years before the 2030 tournament will be played.