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The New Arab

Egypt planning bid to host 2030 World Cup despite economic woes

Egypt fans at the 2018 Russia World Cup [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 July, 2018

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Despite a severe austerity drive, Egypt wants to become the second African country to host the international football tournament.

Egypt wants to bid to host the 2030 World Cup and the 2032 Olympic Games, the country's youth and sports minister Ashraf Sobhy said.

"Egypt is planning on hosting global major sporting competitions, including the 2030 World Cup and the 2032 Olympics Games," the minister said on Tuesday, during a speech outlining the ministry's strategy for future sports development in the country..

The two early bids to host the 2030 tournament, after Qatar in 2022 and the US, Canada and Mexico in 2026, have already been proposed by England and jointly by Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, who hosted the first World Cup in 1930.

Comment: Egypt's World Cup: A spectacular own goal for Sisi's regime

In Russia this summer, Egypt played only their third World Cup, after also qualifying for the finals in 1934 and 1990.

They failed to advance to the knockout stage after losing all of their games despite having one of world's top strikers Mohamed Salah in their squad.

The head of the Egyptian football federation Hany Abo Rida last week blamed the poor performance of the national team on the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement.

It came amid accusations Salah was used for political purposes during the tournament after a photo opportunity with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov while the team were based in Chechnya.

Egypt made a bid for the World Cup hosting rights in 2010, but were defeated by South Africa, which became the first African country to host the tournament. 

Meanwhile, the Olympic Games are yet to take place in the continent.

However the likelihood of Egypt being able to foot the bill for major international events is slim, with the government imposing severe austerity measures and slashing fuel and electricity subsidies in order to qualify for a three-year $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan secured in 2016.

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