Saudi Arabia is set to host the 2034 World Cup after Australia announced it would not bid to host the tournament.
The Kingdom presented a letter of intent to FIFA, earlier this month after football’s governing body announced that only bidders from Asia and Oceania would be considered for 2034.
And Saudi Arabia is unlikely to face any competition after Football Australia announced on Tuesday it had decided against bidding to host the tournament.
‘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 said in a statement.
‘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.’
Countries hoping to host the 2034 World Cup must express formal interest by October 31 and a signed bidding agreement must be tabled by November 30.
FIFA members will then have the opportunity to rubber-stamp the 2034 hosts in late 2024.
Saudi Arabia, whose investment in football and development of their own Pro League over the past 12 months has been astronomical, was initially tipped to bid for the 2030 World Cup.
That bid involved Greece, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia co-hosting the tournament, but plans were dropped, and Saudi are aiming to be the sole hosts in 2034.
Hotjist.com reported earlier this month, the state’s bid was all but a ‘done deal’, with the nation moving at pace to secure football’s marquee competition.
‘We announced our ambitions to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, and this official submission continues our journey to make the dreams of our people a reality,’ Yasser Al Misehal, President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) said in a statement when the Kingdom formally submitted its letter of intent.
‘We are extremely committed to presenting the most competitive bid possible that will also help unite the world through football.’
The Saudi FA claims that ‘over 70 FIFA Member Associations from across different continents have publicly pledged their support for the Kingdom.’
Saudi Arabia’s bid received the backing over the weekend of Sheikh Salman of Bahrain, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, who said that ‘the entire Asian football family will stand united in support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s momentous initiative’.
The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, while hosting duties between for the 2030 tournament will be split across six different countries.
Spain, Morocco, and Portugal will be the main tournament host, but in honour of the special anniversary of the first-ever World Cup, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina will all host opening matches.