Chile is up in arms after being left out of plans for the 2030 World Cup even though neighbours Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay were picked to host opening matches.
The news dominated headlines, street conversations and social media platforms, even drawing comments from President Gabriel Boric.
“I regret that there are institutions that operate in such an unserious and surprising manner,” Boric told a press conference on Wednesday, saying he spoke with the presidents of Paraguay and Argentina who said they weren’t told about the decision before the announcement.
“We’re going to make sure we get all the rights that correspond to Chile because you don’t play around with Chile’s national integrity and name.”
Chile had made a joint bid alongside Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in February to host the 2030 World Cup but was the only one of those countries not to receive a game after FIFA announced the host nations on Wednesday.
Spain, Portugal and Morocco, who also launched a joint bid, will stage the majority of the tournament and the South American countries will host one game each. Each of the six nations will automatically qualify for the World Cup.
“I think it’s bad because they’re not valuing Chilean soccer,” said Abigail Rebolledo, a student in Santiago. “They should give (Chile) the same importance as these other countries, evaluate it and stick to the first agreement.”