Saudi Arabia to host FIFA World Cup 2034 men’s tournament
Australia pulls out of the 2034 event’s candidature bidding
FIFA has declared Saudi Arabia the host nation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2034 men’s tournament. This marks the third occasion the coveted event will grace the Asian continent, following the successful hosting by South Korea and Japan in 2002 and Qatar in 2022.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino took to Instagram to share the news, expressing enthusiasm about the global journey of the sport.
He noted: “The greatest show on earth will be hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States in 2026 in North America. The next two editions of the FIFA World Cup will be held in Africa (Morocco) and Europe (Portugal and Spain) – with three matches played in South America (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) – in 2030 and in Asia (Saudi Arabia) in 2034. Three editions, five continents, and 10 countries are involved in the tournament. This is truly making football global.”
Due to the unique climatic conditions in Saudi Arabia, the 2034 tournament will see a departure from tradition, as it will be held in the winter months. This decision mirrors the scheduling adjustments implemented for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The bidding process for the 2034 edition closed on October 31, 2023, with Saudi Arabia emerging as the lone Asian contender. Australia, initially in the running, withdrew from consideration on the same day.
This follows the Australian Football Federation’s decision to redirect its focus towards the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has welcomed the FIFA World Cup 2034 men’s tournament, expressing its eagerness to highlight the nation’s passion for football on the grandest stage.
Saudi Arabia had previously applied for the 2030 World Cup but will now patiently await its turn to organise the pinnacle of global football four years later.
This historic hosting opportunity aligns with Saudi Arabia’s broader ambitions to establish itself as a formidable force in international football and enhance its soft power status on the global stage. The nation seeks to step out of the shadows cast by neighbouring UAE and shine as the epicentre of the FIFA World Cup in 2034.
Featured image: CGI of the King Fahd Sports City in Riyadh. Image: Saudi Ministry of Sports