Saudi Arabia has emerged as the sole bidder for the 2034 FIFA World Cup, as Australia decided not to submit a bid to host the tournament just hours before FIFA’s deadline for declarations of interest on Tuesday.
FIFA had invited bids from Asia and Oceania for the tournament by October 31, and Saudi Arabia announced its bid only minutes after the announcement on October 4. However, on Tuesday, Australia declared that it would not be presenting a bid to host the tournament, leaving Saudi Arabia as the only candidate.
FIFA also confirmed that the sole expression of interest in hosting the 2030 World Cup came from Morocco, Portugal, and Spain in collaboration with Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. The 2026 edition is already set to be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
FIFA stated, “As established in the Bidding Regulations approved by the FIFA Council, the FIFA administration will conduct thorough bidding and evaluation processes for the 2030 and 2034 editions of the FIFA World Cup, with the hosts to be appointed by FIFA Congresses expected to take place by Q4 2024.”
The absence of any competitive bidding process raises significant questions about FIFA’s commitment to upholding human rights in hosting the tournament.
If the bid is approved, Saudi Arabia would become the second Middle Eastern nation, after Qatar, to host the FIFA World Cup.
The official decision to grant hosting rights to Saudi Arabia is expected to be confirmed at the end of the coming year, subject to the fulfillment of all requisite criteria.