Uruguay to host 2030 World Cup after Fifa 'fascist' row?
South American country could stage the tournament with Argentina on its 100th anniversary
Their star striker may have tarnished football's image with his teeth and their president may have called Fifa's top brass "old sons of bitches", but will Uruguay be rewarded for besmirching the World Cup by winning the rights to host the 2030 tournament?
According to an exclusive in the Daily Mail, Uruguay are "favourites' to host the finals in 2030, which would be in line with some of Fifa's recent decisions such as inviting Vladimir Putin's Russia to host the 2018 tournament and the very wealthy Arab state of Qatar to do the honours four years later.
One might have thought Uruguay would be low on the list of potential hosts given the antics of Luis Suarez last month. The striker sank his chops into the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during their group match, an act for which he was subsequently banned for nine games and four months by football's governing body.
Rather than apologising on behalf of his nation for Suarez's snacking on a fellow professional, Uruguay president Jose Mujica labelled the hierarchy "old sons of bitches" and described the punishment as a "fascist ban".
But despite the Suarez circus, almost the only blemish on an otherwise memorable World Cup, Fifa are said to be "acutely aware" that Uruguay have not staged the Wold Cup finals since the inaugural event in 1930. The Mail says that Fifa, never knowingly undersold when it comes to sentiment, would like to see Uruguay stage the tournament in 2030 to mark the competition's centenary.
But the problem they face is that in 1930 the World Cup featured only 13 sides and was a small-scale event compared to the behemoth is has become. Could the small South American country – population of under 3.5m (though still enough to beat England last month) – cope with hosting a modern World Cup?
Fifa believes that Qatar, a tiny Gulf state with no venues or footballing heritage, a population of just two million and summertime temperatures of more than 40C, is a perfectly good host, but it has its doubts about the rather less well-off nation of Uruguay, says the Mail.
And so its idea is to invite Argentina to be the tournament co-hosts. It wouldn't be the first time two nations have shared the tournament – Japan and South Korea did so in 2002 – and it's likely the concept will get the go-ahead when the hosting rights are put to the vote.
Then again, when it comes to votes and Fifa anything could happen. A bit like Suarez and opposition defenders.