Buenos Aires: The presidents of Argentina and Uruguay are backing a joint campaign for both countries to host the 2030 World Cup.
The South American neighbors have been friendly and not-so-friendly rivals over the years, but both leaders say it's time to work together for a shared future.
Argentina's Cristina Fernandez and Uruguay's Jose Mujica officially formed a bilateral commission to promote the World Cup bid, comprising both countries' presidents, cabinet members and football league leaders.
The bid is a long shot since it would come relatively soon after Brazil's Cup in 2014. While Japan and South Korea's joint World Cup in 2002 was seen as a success, world football leaders tend to favor single-country bids.
On the other hand, Argentine Football Association President Julio Grondona is close to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. And as FIFA's senior vice president Grondona is thought to wield considerable influence.
A decision on who hosts the 2030 World Cup is some way off. FIFA, football's world governing body, last year awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar.
Uruguay and Argentina have hosted and won the World Cup in the past. Uruguay hosted and won the first World Cup in 1930 and Argentina won it at home in 1978.
Mujica said the time has come for both neighbors to set aside their rivalries, in sports as well as business, politics and many other aspects of life.
"For too many decades we have lived with our backs turned to each other in Latin America, always looking towards Europe, always admiring what's far away," Mujica said. "Now the time has come to take notice that our future will be determined with our neighbors, that we suffer from the same difficulties, and that we escape them together or not at all."
The two presidents also signed accords implementing a shared natural gas project in Uruguay, a commission to foster shared business investments, the rehabilitation of railroad connections, the construction of a new international bridge across their shared Uruguay River, and a plan to pay for it all using their own currencies.
"One of the keys is not only dialogue and integration, but also association, because being a member helps all sides win," Fernandez said.