14 July 2024,   23:35
Saudi Arabia certain to host 2034 FIFA World Cup

Saudi Arabia is all but certain to host the men’s 2034 FIFA World Cup after the Australian football federation declined to enter the bidding contest, writes Al Jazeera.

FIFA had set Tuesday as the deadline to submit a bid to host the tournament, but Australia’s decision to pull out leaves Saudi Arabia as the only declared candidate.

“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”, Football Australia (FA) said in a statement.

FIFA still needs to rubber stamp Saudi Arabia as the hosts – a decision that is likely to be made next year – but victory now seems a formality.

Within hours of the FIFA announcement, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation announced plans to bid and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said it was backing the kingdom to bring the World Cup back to the Middle East after neighbouring Qatar hosted the 2022 edition.