Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday, Oct. 4, that it plans to bid to host the 2034 World Cup.
The bid “intends to deliver a world-class tournament and will draw inspiration from Saudi Arabia’s ongoing social and economic transformation and the country’s deep-rooted passion for football”, said a statement from the Saudi Arabian football federation.
News of the bid comes one year after neighbouring Qatar hosted the first World Cup in the Middle East, where the Saudi national team scored a stunning group stage victory over eventual winners Argentina.
The Saudi announcement came an hour after world football’s governing body FIFA released a statement giving its plans for the 2030 World Cup and inviting countries in the Asian Football Confederation to bid for 2034.
In the coming weeks, the kingdom is set to host the final LIV Golf League tournament of the regular season, a boxing match featuring Anthony Joshua and the Next Gen ATP Finals tennis tournament.
It will also host the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia was confirmed as host of football’s 2027 Asian Cup.
That event will enable Saudi officials to improve on existing football infrastructure, with new “world-class stadiums” constructed “in the most sustainable ways”, Saudi Football Federation President, Yasser Al Misehal, said on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia previously explored a tri-continental World Cup bid with Egypt and Greece, though that plan has been shelved.
The new Saudi-only bid means fans would face “maximum three-hour flying times between cities and stadiums”, Misehal said.
The Asian Football Confederation came out in support of the Saudi 2034 World Cup bid shortly after it was announced on Wednesday.
“I am delighted to note that the (Saudi football federation) have presented their intention to bid for the FIFA World Cup in 2034,” said AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
“The entire Asian football family will stand united in support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s momentous initiative, and we are committed to working closely with the global football family to ensure its success.”