Saudi Arabia leads race for 2034 World Cup as Australia drops out

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

Australia has dropped its initial interest in hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup, leaving only Saudi Arabia left to have expressed interest in being hosts to football’s biggest tournament. 

The deadline to express formal interest in hosting the 2034 edition of the tournament closes today (31 October) as FIFA has only been taking applications from countries in the Oceania and Asia regions. 

However, Football Australia confirmed the country’s exit from hosting the World Cup which now leaves Saudi Arabia as the clear front-runners to host the tournament. 

A Football Australia statement read: “We have explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup and – having taken all factors into consideration – we have reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition. 

“Instead, we believe we are in a strong position to host the oldest women’s international competition in the world, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, and then welcome the greatest teams in world football for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.”

Saudi Arabia signed a letter of intent to host the 2034 World Cup on 9 October as it stated it had support of over 70 different associations for its bid. 

The Kingdom had originally devised a plan to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup alongside potential co-hosts Egypt and Greece but those plans were ultimately dropped in favour of running as sole hosts for 2034. 

With the deadline for a signed bidding agreement coming up on 30 November, Saudi Arabia remains the only country who have announced intentions to host the tournament, looking almost certain they will secure hosting rights. 

The Middle Eastern country has undergone significant investment into football following the summer spending spree of Saudi Pro League teams, attracting marquee players such as Karim Benzema, Sadio Mané and N’Golo Kanté to join the country’s domestic football league. 

Hosting the FIFA World Cup has been integral to the ‘Saudi 2030 Vision’ as the global football tournament provides a platform to showcase to the world its development as a country.

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