Saudi Arabia aims to become a major player in global sports. In the past year, it has spent massive amounts on bringing in dozens of star footballers to their domestic league, launching the breakaway LIV Golf tour, and hosting major boxing fights.
Now, hosting the biggest sporting event — FIFA World Cup in 2034 – seems a formality.
After the Australian Football Federation declined to enter the bidding contest on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia is certain to host the men’s 2034 FIFA World Cup.
Australia’s decision to pull out leaves Saudi Arabia as the only declared candidate. But FIFA still needs to announce Saudi Arabia as the host – a decision likely to be made next year.
FIFA’s bidding documents say 14 stadiums are needed for the 48-team tournament.
“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,” Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said in a statement.
“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.”