Saudi Arabia Poised to Host 2034 Men’s Football World Cup as Australia Opts Out Amid Controversies
The landscape of international football has vastly changed in the last few years. From Europe, it traveled to Middle-East and has found there an established home. Now football is set to undergo another significant transformation, as Saudi Arabia emerges as the probable host for the 2034 Men’s World Cup.
With Australia’s decision to abstain from the bidding process, FIFA’s Tuesday deadline for submissions has left the oil-rich kingdom as the solitary contender for this prestigious global event.
Saudi Arabia’s journey towards becoming a major player in global sports has been nothing short of ambitious. The country has strategically invested vast sums of money in various sports ventures, setting the stage for its ascent in the sporting world.
Notable achievements include attracting star soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo to its domestic league, acquiring English soccer club Newcastle United, launching the LIV Golf tour, and hosting prominent boxing events. There is sporting vibe and richness in Saudi Arabia that provides a carnival like experience of spectators.
This formidable sports spending program aligns with the vision of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a concept often criticized as “sportswashing” – an attempt to improve the country’s global image. All the dirty work that his government has done is being over-pictured by hosting monumental sporting events.
FIFA has its role is parting with Saudi Arabia for financial benefits
FIFA’s influence and close ties with Saudi soccer and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have played a pivotal role in Saudi Arabia’s sporting aspirations. The global soccer governing body, under the leadership of President Gianni Infantino, has long been seen as steering FIFA’s competitions toward Saudi Arabia.
Saudi FA President Yasser Al Misehal said on platform X, “All members of the Saudi football family are doing their best to achieve the dream of the Saudis male and females to see the World Cup in the Kingdom for the first time.”
The recent fast-tracking of the 2034 hosting race with eligibility limited to member federations in Asia and Oceania significantly favored Saudi Arabia, leaving little time for competitors to enter the race.
As a result, Saudi Arabia emerged as the frontrunner almost instantly. The oil-rich os definitely slowing becoming a sporting powerhouse. The recent blockbuster boxing match between Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury also took place in Saudi Arabia where countless international sporting stars made their appearance.
FIFA also said that only Morocco, Portugal, and Spain have expressed interest in hosting the 2030 World Cup, with Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay staging commemorative matches. FIFA said on October 4 that, if the bidding process is successful, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal’s united bid will host the 2030 Football World Cup.