Saudi Arabia in line to host 2034 World Cup after Australia rule out bid

  • Australia pull out of bidding process in order to focus on hosting other tournaments
  • Saudi Arabia now the sole bidders for the 2034 tournament
  • FIFA had invited rival bids from Asia and Oceania as part of rotation cycle

The tournament looks set to be played in Saudi Arabia
The tournament looks set to be played in Saudi Arabia / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Australia have confirmed they will not be bidding to host the 2034 men's World Cup, leaving Saudi Arabia as the sole nation left in the running to host the tournament.

FIFA had set a deadline of 31 October, 2023 for any nations to submit their bid to host the 2034 tournament, with Saudi Arabia declaring their intentions back on 9 October by stating they were "extremely committed to presenting the most competitive bid possible that will also help unite the world through football."

After Saudi Arabia progressed their bid, FIFA invited bids from countries in Asia and Oceania - a part of the world which has not hosted a men's World Cup since 2002 - however the only notably interested nation, Australia, have decided against entering the running.

In a statement released by Football Australia, the nation confirmed that they are instead focusing their attentions on hosting the 2026 AFC Women's Asian Cup, 2029 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2032 Olympic Games.

"Following a successfully hosted and record-breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia New Zealand 2023™, which welcomed nearly two million people to matches across Australia and New Zealand, Football Australia is ambitious to bring more major tournaments to our shores.

"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.

Argentina wins 2022 FIFA World Cup
Argentina won the 2022 tournament / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

"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 Cu 2026, and then welcome the greatest teams in world football for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cu. 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.

"This would be underpinned by the opportunity for our men’s and women’s teams to compete at major tournaments including FIFA World Cup 2026 and 2030, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027 and 2031, AFC Asian Cup 2023, 2027 and 2031, and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 and 2030, the Paris 2024 and LA 2028 Olympic Games, as well as at the biennial FIFA U-20 World Cup and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup competitions.

"We wish FIFA and the eventual hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2034 the greatest success for the good of the game and for everyone who loves our sport."

It would be only the second time ever at a country in the Middle East has hosted a World Cup, with Qatar controversially hosting in 2022. Like the Qatar World Cup, one would expect a tournament hosted by Saudi Arabia to be played in the winter, thus causing more major disruption to the football calendar.