updated story, first published 4 October 2023
It was Joseph Blatter who raved about future interplanetary competitions at the 2014 FIFA Congress in São Paulo. Interplanetary competitions, he cried. Blatter, the FIFA dictator at the time, was rightly ridiculed for this.
A year later, Sepp's world came crashing down, quite earthly: dozens of FIFA officials were charged with organised crime in the USA under the RICO Act and sentenced to hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations and many decades in prison. Blatter had to resign and was replaced a few months later in a highly dubious manner - with the help of the Swiss judiciary - by his compatriot Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino, who not only comes from the same canton (Valais) but also from the same mountain valley, grew up in Blatter's neighbouring little town and is also in many other ways in his tradition.
Gianni Infantino had a four-minute video distributed on his propaganda channels this Wednesday in which he explains the decision of the FIFA Council, which is in his debt, to introduce an intercontinental competition, although not yet interplanetary: in 2030, the Men's World Cup will be held on three continents for the first time.
What sounds like an insane decision at first glance is not. For only one match will be played in each of Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, including the opening match in the legendary Estádio Centenário, so named because it was opened on Uruguay's 100th Independence Day in 1930, during the first World Cup.
100 years later, in 2030, FIFA will celebrate the World Cup anniversary in the Centenário. That fits.
The fact that six national teams, a troop of organisers and journalists as well as several thousand fans will be jetting across the Atlantic to the north-east after these three games in South America is not a major logistical problem, regardless of the CO2 emissions. The actual World Cup with 101 other games will then take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco - on two continents, in three countries that have a "unique common social and cultural tradition", as Infantino explained. For once he is not wrong.