Australia will not bid to host the 2034 Men’s World Cup, paving the way for Saudi Arabia.
Football Australia said in a statement: “We have considered the possibility of applying to host the FIFA World Cup, and after considering all the factors, we have concluded not to do so for the 2034 tournament.” FIFA’s deadline for expressions of interest ends on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia, which has brought international football stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo to its league and wants to gain an international reputation as a host of many other sports, has already made its intentions clear and is considered the clear favourite.
At the beginning of October, the Asian Football Confederation supported the Saudi request. After there was speculation about a joint request from Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand or from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia also expressed its support for Saudi Arabia. As a result, the Australians’ already slim chances were reduced to zero.
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FIFA recently made the fundamental decision to host the 2030 World Cup starting with Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay and then in Morocco, Spain and Portugal, a decision that still needs approval by the FIFA Congress. Therefore, only countries in Asia and Oceania can apply to participate in the 2034 tournament. Saudi Arabia announced its intentions almost immediately afterwards. Like Qatar, the previous World Cup host, the kingdom has been criticized for its human rights status and whitewashing through sports.
Instead, Australia wants to try to secure the hosting rights to the 2029 Club World Cup and the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup. Saudi Arabia has also applied for the latter.
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