Saudi Arabia is on track to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup as Australia has withdrawn its bid. FIFA had set a deadline for submissions, and with Australia out of the race, Saudi Arabia is now the sole candidate. While the final decision is pending FIFA’s approval, it’s widely expected to go in favor of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia are set to host the 2034 World Cup after Australia confirmed they will not bid for the tournament.
The deadline to register interest ends today 🇸🇦🏆 pic.twitter.com/jY2ZsAs5bB
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 31, 2023
This development reflects Saudi Arabia’s ambitious efforts to become a global sports hub. The country has been making significant investments in football. The domestic league now boasts star players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. They have acquired the English club Newcastle, and even launching the LIV Golf tour. They’ve also hosted major boxing events. Winning the bid for the 2034 World Cup would be a crowning achievement of this sports-driven strategy.
FIFA decided to expedite the 2034 bidding process, limiting it to member federations in Asia and Oceania, which left very little time for interested countries to enter the race. Saudi Arabia quickly announced its bid, and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is supporting their endeavor, given their experience in hosting the 2022 World Cup in neighboring Qatar.
Saudi Arabia is already preparing for the event by embarking on an extensive stadium construction and renovation program. FIFA’s requirements include 14 stadiums for the 48-team tournament.
While the bid has faced criticism from human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, the country remains determined to press forward with its sports-centric strategy, even in the face of such concerns. The Saudi Sports Minister sees hosting the World Cup as a natural progression in the country’s journey towards becoming a significant player in international sports.
In summary, Saudi Arabia is poised to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, as Australia has withdrawn from the bidding process. The decision now awaits FIFA’s formal approval, and this represents a significant step in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become a major global sports destination, despite human rights concerns.