KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Portugal and Spain want Ukraine to join their joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup finals.

The move will be seen with mixed views in the international game but supporters of a European staging and critics who are irritated that the Iberian federations are harnessing sympathies for the plight of Ukraine.

The opposition for 2030 comes from a cohosting South American featuring Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. The quartet are also appealing to football emotion by wanting the event to mark the centenary of the inaugural finals in Montevideo in 1930.

A purported cross-confederations joint bid from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece has yet to be firmed up.

Aleksander Ceferin, president of European federation UEFA, had hinted on Monday about an imminent “interesting” announcement. Hence the formal statement was issued at UEFA headquarters in Nyon near Geneva.

Ukrainian federation president Andriy Pavelko said: “To see the World Cup is the dream of millions of Ukrainian fans, the dream of people who survived the horrors of war or are still in the occupied territories and over whom the Ukrainian flag will surely fly soon.”

Pavelko said the project had the full support of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Spanish RFEF leader Luis Rubiales said: “Now it’s not the Iberian bid, it’s the European bid. Together we represent the power of transformation football has in society.”

No details were given about how many games at the 48-team World Cup would be staged in Ukraine or in which cities. The Olympic Stadium in Kyiv hosted the finals of the 2012 European Championship and the 2018 Champions League.

On Monday Ceferin told the annual congress of AIPS, the international sports jouranlists’ association, of his confidence in the bid.

He said: “I’m sure we will win and I say “we” because Spain and Portugal are our federations . . . I’m looking forward to coming to their world cup.”