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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Saudi Arabia Primed For 2034 World Cup. Can Australia’s Bid Top It?

  • FIFA will take the 2034 World Cup to an Asian or Oceania country.
  • Saudi Arabia has already announced its intentions to bid for the tournament.
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

We’re still about three years away from the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America, but the host nations for the 2030 event have just been set — and there could already be a two-horse race shaping up for 2034.

With Morocco, Portugal, and Spain serving as the primary hosts of the 2030 World Cup — which will also be played in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay — FIFA simultaneously invited nations from the Asian and Oceania Football Confederations to bid for 2034.

Saudi Arabia immediately announced its intentions to vie for the 2034 event, and Australia said it is still exploring the possibility before an Oct. 31 deadline. Both nations fall under the Asian Football Confederation, despite Australia’s geographical similarity with many Oceania members. The AFC has already expressed its support for a Saudi Arabian bid, as have several Arab nations.

During the success of this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, both nations expressed the desire to eventually lure a men’s World Cup, too. Saudi Arabia has been trying to gain support from European countries in its efforts to land the 2034 tournament.

Political Concerns?

A World Cup in Saudi Arabia would bring up further discussion of FIFA’s tolerance of human rights violations following complaints surrounding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Saudi Arabia is one of the most criticized nations when it comes to human rights.

The Qatar World Cup also had controversies regarding the host nation bribing FIFA officials for the tournament. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia reportedly offered to pay for new stadiums in Greece and Egypt if they teamed up for a joint World Cup bid.

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