Indonesia calls on Australia for joint 2034 World Cup bid

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
12/10/2023
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Indonesia in talks with Australia over joint World Cup bid

Indonesia is in discussions with Australia about a joint bid for the 2034 World Cup. Malaysia and Singapore would also be joint hosts.  

News Insights

  • Indonesian FA president admits talks with Australian FA over 2034 World Cup
  • Indonesia also wants Malaysia and Singapore to host.
  • An Australia and New Zealand joint bid was previously discussed.
  • Saudi Arabia are big favourites to win 2034 hosting rights.

Erick Thohir, Indonesian FA president, told the Sydney Morning Herald that he is currently in talks with Australia about a potential joint 2034 World Cup bid involving Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Saudi Arabia is the favourite to host the tournament, but Indonesia’s proposed bid could provide competition for the Kingdom. 

2030 World Cup announcement bolsters Australia’s chances

The fallout from FIFA’s recent 2030 World Cup host announcement continues to roll on. In addition to blowback about FIFA’s decision to host the 2030 World Cup in six countries, potential host countries for the 2034 World Cup are starting to take shape. Among the potential contenders are Australia and New Zealand.  
 
As we wrote about earlier this week, Australia and New Zealand’s chances to host the 2034 World Cup skyrocketed after FIFA’s 2030 hosting announcement. The 2030 World Cup will be hosted by Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. These six countries represent three continental footballing federations.  
 
Because of FIFA’s hosting rules, a federation can only host a World Cup every three editions, meaning the 2034 World Cup can only be hosted by Asian or Oceanian nations, like Australia or New Zealand.  
 
With the pool of potential host nations so limited, Australia and New Zealand’s chances grew significantly. However, all of this was just speculation before the Indonesian FA made their most recent statements.

Indonesia takes charge

Australia and New Zealand have recently hosted the 2023 Women’s World Cup. That tournament was incredibly well-received by football fans around the world, so it made sense why an Australia and New Zealand joint bid would appear to be one of the strongest possible Asian-Oceanian World Cup bids. However, it now seems New Zealand will be left out in the cold.  
 
If Erick Thohir’s comments are to be believed, Indonesia, and not Australia and New Zealand, are the leading force behind a non-Saudi Asian bid for the 2034 World Cup. 
 
Thohir told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) “are discussing [a bid] with Australia.The billionaire executive added that Malaysia and Singapore have both “expressed interest to join Indonesia and Australia.”  
 
Unlike Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have never qualified for the World Cup. Thankfully for them, football heritage is not a major factor for FIFA when deciding World Cup hosts. The importance of the South East Asian market to FIFA and the recent success of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand makes this a very strong bid.  
 
Distance between host cities, political issues in Indonesia and Malaysia, and raising the necessary government funding are the major issues for a joint Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore bid. These issues should all be able to be addressed though, especially considering the expansive nature of the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.  

Saudi Arabia odds-on favourites 

One obstacle Indonesia and its fellow countries may not be able to overcome is Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are currently the favourites to host the 2034 World Cup, and with good reason.  
 
Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on football in recent years as a part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 project, which aims to diversify the Saudi economy and celebrate Saudi culture. The funding required to host the 2034 World Cup would be a drop in the bucket compared to what is in the kingdom’s Vision 2030 bank account.  
 
Saudi Arabia has already put plans in place to host. They announced their intentions to bid for the 2034 World Cup minutes after FIFA announced the 2030 hosts. Additionally, Saudi Arabia already has support from numerous small North American nations, who will ultimately play a role in voting for World Cup hosts at a later date.  

At time of writing, it is hard to imagine anyone but Saudi Arabia being 2034 World Cup hosts. However, if Indonesia can get their ducks in a row, an Australia-South East Asian tournament could be an attractive alternative. This is a story all Australian soccer fans should be keeping an eye on.