Saudi Arabia certain of hosting 2034 FIFA World Cup after Australia drops out

Saudi Arabia certain of hosting 2034 FIFA World Cup after Australia drops out

QLNews
By QLNews

Saudi Arabia is all but certain of hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup after the Australian football federation withdrew from the race on Tuesday.

World football’s governing body FIFA had invited bids from Asia and Oceania for the tournament by October 31, but Australia’s pull-out leaves Saudi Arabia as the sole candidate in contention.

“We’ve explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup and — having taken all factors into consideration — we’ve reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition,” Football Australia (FA) said. It will now focus on bidding for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup.

FIFA will still need to ratify Saudi Arabia’s selection as hosts sometime next year, but that seems to be a mere formality now.

The 2034 FIFA World Cup will be the culmination of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious drive to become a major player in global sports.

They have spent massive amounts in recent times to bring some of the world’s best footballers to their domestic league. Saudi investors also bought English Premier League side Newcastle United in 2021.

After awarding the 2030 World Cup to a joint bid by Spain, Portugal and Morocco, FIFA fast-tracked the 2034 hosting race with only Asian and Oceanian member federations allowed to bid.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation threw its hat into the ring mere hours after FIFA’s announcement on October 4. The Asian Football Confederation also wholeheartedly supported the Saudi bid to bring the World Cup back to the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, which will host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup, has started work on building and renovating stadiums that will also likely be used for the World Cup.

“Hosting a FIFA World Cup in 2034 would help us achieve our dream of becoming a leading nation in world sport and would mark a significant milestone in the country’s transformation,” Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said in a statement.

“As an emerging and welcoming home for all sports, we believe that hosting a FIFA World Cup is a natural next step in our football journey,” he added.

While the USA, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the world football body awarded the 2030 tournament to Morocco, Portugal and Spain while adding World Cup centenary games in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

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