Saudi Arabia launches bid to host the 2034 WC

The Saudis have invested heavily in high-profile sports such as soccer, Formula One, boxing and golf over the last few years

By REUTERS
March 03, 2024
Representational image of the Football World Cup Trophy. — AFP/File

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia launched its campaign to host the 2034 Football World Cup on Friday, a bid that is all but certain to succeed due to the absence of any other expressions of interest before FIFA’s deadline late last year.

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With Morocco, Portugal and Spain set to share the hosting of the 2030 tournament, global governing body FIFA limited the 2034 contest to bidders from the Asian and Oceania confederations.

Saudi Arabia would be the second country from the Gulf region to host the showpiece event, after neighbouring Qatar staged the 2022 finals.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) said its “Growing. Together.” World Cup campaign would showcase the way the nation was strengthening bonds with other countries through sport.

The Saudis have invested heavily in high-profile sports such as soccer, Formula One, boxing and golf over the last few years, leading critics to accuse the oil-rich kingdom of “sportswashing” its human rights record. The country denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

“Telling our football story to the world is of massive importance,” SAFF President Yasser Al Misehal said in a statement.

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