Football: Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania to bid for 2030 FIFA World Cup
By Kiril Gigov, Lawyer, Sofia, Bulgaria Over the past month in the Euxinograd Residence, a very important summit has taken place. In addition to the growing partnership between Bulgaria and Israel in the field of defence, counter-terrorism and focusing mainly on current European problems and regional stability, surprising news concerning the field of sport was announced by the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov. During the meeting, the Minister revealed that Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania, intend to make a joint bid to host the World Cup in 2030, news that was taken as somewhat surprising! Indeed, the reaction came mainly from the Balkans, where the opposition of these governments saw it as an attempt at escaping from the weekly problems of the region. Moreover, the initiator of the idea is no other than the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, who was able to withstand the enormous pressure from the EU in the face of the real bankruptcy of his country some years ago. It is Tsipras who sees the football championship as a huge chance for these four countries to pour fresh money in the region. Of course, the four countries first have to build several stadiums that meet the highest standards of FIFA, as in Bulgaria and Serbia there are no such stadiums to date. There is one in Romania, and Greece will also need to make investments in infrastructure, as the 2004 Olympic Games facilities have long been remote. In spite of the fact that, in three of these four countries, serious infrastructures have been built, thanks to European projects, there is still much to be done in this respect. We can note that the Greeks have experience with similar projects relating to the hosting of the Olympic Games 14 years ago. At that time, Athens became a modern city, having many roads and facilities built throughout Greece. And that is the least concern. We are talking about a geopolitical project that should be considered a winner for all parties involved. No matter how good the idea is, the governments of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania will have to do a great deal of work before implementing their candidacy. The problem in the Balkans is that, in the last 30 years, the political processes have been too dynamic. Under one or other external political affiliations, governments are changing frequently, so it is very difficult to have more ambitious projects, like this one, accomplished, from a stable political point of view. With high hopes for its success, the realization of the World Cup in this part of the world in 2030, one hundred years after its first edition, would be an incredible success for the Balkans!