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Ukraine to join Spain and Portugal in 2030 World Cup bid

War-torn Ukraine will join Spain and Portugal in a bid to host the 2030 World Cup, presidents from the three countries' football associations announced on Wednesday.

Ukraine to join Spain and Portugal in 2030 World Cup bid
President of the Portuguese Football Federation Fernando Soares Gomes da Silva (L), President of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales (C) and President of the Ukraine Football Federation Andriy Pavelko (R) deliver a press conference announcing Spain, Portugal and Ukraine’s bid for the 2030 World Cup at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on October 5, 2022. (Photo by GABRIEL MONNET / AFP)

The original proposal was made public two years ago and the Spanish football association (RFEF) said in a statement the idea was backed by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“The Royal Spanish Football Federation and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) have incorporated the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) into the Iberian Bid to organise the 2030 World Cup,” RFEF said in a statement.

“With the full support of Aleksander Ceferin, the Iberian bid incorporates the federation chaired by Andriy Pavelko in order to build bridges and project a message of unity, solidarity and generosity from all of European football,” it added.

Portugal hosted the 2004 European Championship while Ukraine was a joint host with Poland of Euro 2012.

“The example of tenacity and resilience set by the Ukrainian people is inspiring,” the FPF said.

The FPF added that the joint bid “aims to contribute through the power of football to the recovery of a country undergoing reconstruction”.

It added that the terms of Ukraine’s role in the bid “will be discussed and defined in due course”.

It follows the announcement last month from an Egyptian official that Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia are in talks to jointly host the 2030 World Cup.

In August, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay launched their bid to host the event — which is the centenary of the first World Cup, held in Uruguay — with the hope of bringing the global showpiece back to its first home.

The 2026 edition has already been awarded to three countries — Canada, Mexico and the United States.

More than half of the 21 World Cup finals already staged have been in Europe but later this year Qatar will host the finals, the first time they have been played in the Middle East.

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SPAIN EXPLAINED

How the Spanish sport Padel is winning over the world

Padel, a cross between squash and tennis is one of the fastest-growing sports globally and is most popular in Spain.

How the Spanish sport Padel is winning over the world

Padel is a racket sport that is like a mixture between squash and tennis. It’s played on a court with glass walls on either end and metallic mesh on the sides, and is typically played as doubles. 

According to the International Padel Federation (FIP), padel is one of the fastest-growing sports globally and over 25 million people play it in over 90 countries around the world.

The sport was originally invented in Mexico in 1969, but it’s Spain where its popularity has soared. 

FIP states that Spain has almost six million padel players, more than 14,000 padel courts and over 1,000 officially registered padel clubs, making it the “spiritual home of padel” and the second-most popular sport in the country, just behind football. 

It’s also the country with the most federated padel players in the world. 

But if you want to make money from this increasingly-popular sport, it may be worth looking at the Spanish model and exporting it abroad. 

Demand for padel courts abroad has taken off, particularly in the last couple of years since the lockdown during the pandemic, according to the CEO of Manzasport, Juan Antonio Senent, one of the main Spanish companies exporting this sport.

His company has had an annual growth forecast of between 15 and 20 percent. 

According to Senet, Sweden and Italy as the most dynamic markets for padel, followed by countries in the Middle East.

The latest stats from FIP show that the term ‘padel’ is searched 968,000 times a month globally and that it’s Italy where people want to know about it the most, responsible for 180,000 monthly. 

Spain comes in second place with 149,000 searches a month for the search term ‘padel’, more than 15 percent of all global searches.

In third place, it’s the Netherlands with 74,000 online searches a month, almost 8 percent of global searches. Next is France with 64,900 searches, then Sweden with 58,100 and Argentina with 44,700. 

The UK is only responsible for 1.27 percent of online global searches, as it is still a relatively new sport there, but indicators point to the fact that it could grow in popularity. 

According to the latest data from the federation, Italy is home to over 5,000 padel courts, while the sport is also trending in Sweden where 500,000 people play it regularly. 

They estimate that around 15,000 new padel courts were registered in Europe in 2021.

The economic sports website Palco23 suggests, summer is the best time for opening or developing new paddle projects and states new courts are currently being built across France, Italy, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary and Sweden. 

The website pistas-padel.es says that it costs between €15,000 and €20,000 to build a padel court. Obviously, you’d have to factor in the cost of the land in the country you want to build it in too. 

A single paddle court, open from Monday to Sunday from 9am to 11pm with a price of €6 per person, which is occupied for 7 hours a day, will bring in around €168, the site calculates.

This multiplied by 365 days a year, comes out to more than €60,000 per year, which could make you a tidy profit when you take away costs for maintenance, which the site estimates as around €750 for three maintenance sessions throughout the year.

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