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After Qatar, will Saudi Arabia be the next Arab country to host the World Cup?

Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki said hosting the event would help the country become a leading nation in world sport.

After Qatar, will Saudi Arabia be the next Arab country to host the World Cup?
[Source photo: King Abdullah Sports City | Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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Saudi Arabia is home to one of the strongest leagues in Asia, the Saudi Pro League. Welcoming and engaging fans from across the globe, the league is home to a mix of Saudi talent and international star players from over 45 countries.

Now, the country announced it will bid to host the 2034 World Cup minutes after the world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, invited countries from the Asia and Oceania regions to submit bids.

“Led by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), the bid for 2034 intends to deliver a world-class tournament and will draw inspiration from Saudi Arabia’s ongoing social and economic transformation and the country’s deep-rooted passion for football,” the Saudi FA said. 

The country has hosted world-class football events prior and has ongoing plans to welcome fans to the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

“Hosting a FIFA World Cup in 2034 would help us achieve our dream of becoming a leading nation in world sport and would mark a significant milestone in the country’s transformation. As an emerging and welcoming home for all sports, we believe that hosting a FIFA World Cup is a natural next step in our football journey,” said Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki. 

Yasser Al-Misehal, President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said, “We believe the time is right for Saudi Arabia to host the FIFA World Cup.”

“Our bid is driven by a love for the game and a desire to see it grow in every corner of the world. We want to celebrate our football culture and share our country with the world,” he adds.

Meanwhile, multiple host countries are to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with the tournament to be held across Canada, Mexico, and the US. The 2026 World Cup will be the first to have teams from 48 countries.

The 2030 FIFA World Cup goes further, unfolding across six countries and three continents. Announced on Wednesday, FIFA shared that Morocco, Portugal, and Spain’s combined bid has been selected to host the event in 2030 jointly.

This marks history for Morocco as the second African country to host the World Cup after South Africa in 2010.

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