Saudi Arabia is on the verge of securing the rights to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup. This development comes after Australia withdrew from the competition just hours before the FIFA deadline. Saudi Arabia entered the fray shortly after FIFA declared that the 2034 edition would be limited to Asia or Oceania.

The Gulf nation garnered significant support for its bid, including the endorsement of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

Australia was the sole challenger to Saudi Arabia’s bid.However, Australia, which is set to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, ultimately decided against pursuing the 2034 World Cup and will instead focus on the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup.

“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,” a statement from Football Australia read.

“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.”

Achieving this – following the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ and with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games – would represent a truly golden decade for Australian football.”

For international tournament hosting, the Australian time zones provide significant opportunities for broadcasters, and we are within touching distance of billions of people in Asia and Oceania, which also helps to provide a strong commercial outlook for competitions.”

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During the AFC Congress held earlier this month, countries such as Japan, Uzbekistan, and India expressed their support for the Saudi bid to host the World Cup.

Australia had initial hopes when Indonesia initially considered a joint bid but later reversed its decision and supported Saudi Arabia.If Saudi Arabia wins the bid, it will become the second Gulf country to host the World Cup in just 12 years, following Qatar’s hosting of the event last year.

The 38-year-old Bin Salman has expressed a commitment to using sports to boost Saudi Arabia’s economy.

Recently, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was photographed alongside bin Salman during the launch of the high-stakes Esports World Cup, an industry in which Saudi Arabia has made significant investments.

Meanwhile, Jeddah has been selected as the host for this year’s men’s FIFA Club World Cup, and there are discussions about Saudi Arabia submitting a bid to host the 2035 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup is set to take place in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, marking the first time the tournament will be jointly hosted by three countries.

Spain, Portugal, and Morocco are on track to host the centennial FIFA World Cup in 2030, pending the successful completion of the bidding process and approval at next year’s FIFA Congress.

Additionally, there are plans for special one-off matches in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay.

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