Football

Saudi Arabia set to host 2034 FIFA World Cup as Australia withdraw bid

Saudi Arabia is set to host the men’s 2034 FIFA World Cup after Australia decided against bidding to stage the tournament.

Earlier, FIFA had set out a guideline that bids for the 2034 World Cup will only be accepted from Asia and Oceania regions. So, Australia and Saudi Arabia were the only nations to emerge as the frontrunners to grab the hosting rights.

However, Football Australia pulled out its bid on October 31 after the Asian Football Confederation threw its weight behind Saudi Arabia.

“We have explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup, and having taken all factors into consideration, we have reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition,” read a statement from the Australian FA.

“Instead, we believe we are in a strong position to host the oldest women’s international competition in the world, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, and then welcome the greatest teams in world football for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.”

Saudi Arabia set to host 2034 FIFA World Cup after Australia exits the race

Saudi Arabia previously wanted to host the 2030 World Cup along with Egypt and Greece. However, FIFA later announced that the centenary edition will be hosted by Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina will host one match each to spread their footprints across three continents.

Mohammed bin Salman has set his eyes to position Saudi Arabia as a leading destination for sports tourism, and hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup is a big part of this vision.

The Middle Eastern nation will also host the upcoming 2023 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

Last month Bin Salman said: “If sportswashing is going to increase my GDP by 1%, then we’ll continue doing sportswashing.”

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