Australia say no to 2034 World Cup, Saudi Arabia named as host by FIFA

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
02/11/2023
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Australia declines to big on 2034 World Cup

Australia will not be the host of the 2034 World Cup, Football Australia has announced. Instead, Saudi Arabia will host the tournament.  

News Insights

  • Australia have decided not to bid for the 2034 World Cup.
  • Only Asian and Oceanian nations were eligible to bid for 2034 hosting rights.
  • FIFA have named Saudi Arabia as the 2034 World Cup hosts.
  • Football Australia will now focus on the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.

Football Australia announced on Monday that the organisation will not be bidding to host the 2034 World Cup. Australia pulling out out the running opened the door for Saudi Arabia to be named 2034 World Cup hosts. FIFA confirmed this on Tuesday, to the dismay of many soccer fans.  

Football Australia “explored” bidding for 2034 World Cup 

FIFA’s restrictive World Cup hosting rights meant that only Asian and Oceanian nations could bid for the 2034 World Cup. Given the nature of many Asian countries and the obvious impracticality of hosting a World Cup in many Oceanian nations, Australia was immediately recognised as one of the strongest contenders to host the 2034 World Cup. The only question was whether the country would submit a bid. 
 
According to Football Australia, the country was very close to actually putting a bid together. “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,” said Football Australia in a statement.  
 
Even though it did not submit a bid, Australia’s top organising body also used their statement to highlight why Oz would have been a good place to host the 2034 World Cup.  
 
For international tournament hosting, the Australian time zones provide significant opportunities for broadcasters, and we are within touching distance of billions of people in Asia and Oceania, which also helps to provide a strong commercial outlook for competitions,” said Football Australia.  
 
Football Australia ended their statement with a message for the eventual 2034 World Cup hosts, saying “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.” 
 
We now know that Saudi Arabia will be the 2034 World Cup hosts.  

FIFA picks Saudi

Following the 2030 World Cup host announcement, FIFA had set a deadline for all 2034 bids. Countries must have submitted their bids by this Tuesday.  
 
In the weeks leading up to this Tuesday deadline, countries like Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, and Australia were listed as countries who could potentially bid for the 2034 World Cup. If you asked die hard soccer fans and the betting sites though, there was only ever one team who was going to win hosting rights; Saudi Arabia.  
 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars on soccer in recent years, so it makes sense they would win out in a competition judged by money-hungry FIFA executives.

Australia looks to AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 and 2029 FIFA Club World Cup   

While missing out on the World Cup is a disappointment, Australia will be hosting several international competitions in the coming years. Most notably, Australia will host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 and 2029 FIFA Club World Cup. These competitions will feature the best women’s soccer teams in Asia and the best men’s club teams in the World.  
 
Football Australia believes that hosting these competitions will help Australia’s “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.” 

Those glamorous competitions will have to wait though. For now, Football Australia will keep focusing on growing the sport of soccer in Australia so that it can send the best teams possible to those tournaments.