FIFA has announced that Saudi Arabia has emerged as the sole “expression of interest” to host the prestigious 2034 World Cup.
The Kingdom’s bold move positions it as the likely host nation for the event, subject to meeting all technical requirements and final approval.
The decision comes just as the footballing world eagerly anticipates the 2030 World Cup, which is set to be a unique collaborative effort between Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and South America. Saudi Arabia, known for its significant investments in football, Formula One, and golf, is expected to usher in a new era by replacing the unconventional tri-continental lineup with its own bid.
This development follows closely on the heels of Qatar’s successful hosting of the 2022 World Cup, marking the first World Cup in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia made headlines during that tournament when its national team caused a stir by upsetting eventual champion Argentina in the group stage.
While Saudi Arabia stands alone in expressing interest for the 2034 World Cup, it’s important to note that the lack of competition in the bid process raises concerns, particularly regarding the environmental impact of the 2030 event and the Kingdom’s compliance with FIFA’s human rights obligations for the 2034 tournament.
FIFA will thoroughly assess the complete proposals for both the 2030 and 2034 World Cups before putting them to a vote at two separate congress sessions slated for the end of 2024.
This unusual lack of competition not only diminishes the suspense but also highlights the pressing issues that need to be addressed to ensure the success of these upcoming tournaments.
Saudi Arabia’s initial plan to jointly bid with Egypt and Greece for the 2030 World Cup paved the way for the tri-continental bid, but in a surprising twist, the Kingdom decided to go solo in its bid for the 2034 tournament. As the football world awaits the outcome of these bids, it’s clear that Saudi Arabia’s ambitious move has set the stage for a potentially transformative era in World Cup history.