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Saudi Arabia Set To Host 2034 World Cup With Australia’s Exit

  • Australia has decided not to bid for the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
  • Saudi Arabia now has no challengers to host the soccer tournament.
Saudi player wins ball from Argentinian player in World Cup match-up
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Saudi Arabia’s path to hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup is clear after its main competitor, Australia, decided not to bid for the event. FIFA president Gianni Infantino appeared to confirm Saudi Arabia’s hosting status in an Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon.

Australia’s exit made Saudi Arabia the sole bidder for 2034, with Tuesday marking the deadline for any other countries from the Asian and Oceania Football Confederations to submit formal bids. FIFA had previously said the 2034 host would be officially appointed in a separate FIFA Congress, with the next meeting set for May 2024. 

Football Australia said it’s turning its attention toward bids to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and 2029 FIFA Club World Cup. 

Saudi Arabia has been seen as the favorite to land the 2034 World Cup since FIFA announced an expedited timeline for bidding earlier this month. A joint Australian bid with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore was floated as a possible challenger but ultimately never materialized.

Due to Saudi Arabia’s extreme heat, the 2034 tournament will likely be the second-ever winter World Cup, following Qatar 2022’s move from the traditional summer timeslot. The sporting event will also put another global spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s human rights issues.

The World Cup bid continues a strong recent sports push from Saudi Arabia. Beyond its other investments in Formula 1, LIV Golf, and professional soccer, the country’s Public Investment Fund also created a new sports-focused investment entity, SRJ Sports Investments.

Bucking A Trend

A sole host for the 2034 World Cup will break from the new normal of multiple nations collaborating on major soccer tournaments.

The 2026 World Cup, 2028 Euro, 2030 World Cup, and 2032 Euro will all be played across multiple countries. Additionally, the 2027 Women’s World Cup could be jointly contested in the U.S. and Mexico, following the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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