Following Australia’s decision not to submit a bid for the 2034 World Cup, Saudi Arabia emerges as the likely host for the global soccer event. FIFA had invited bids from Asia and Oceania until the October 31 deadline.
James Johnson, the head of Football Australia (FA), previously mentioned the potential bid for 2034, but the domestic governing body later confirmed its focus on bids for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup instead.
With Australia out of the running, Saudi Arabia remains the sole confirmed bidder for the 2034 World Cup. The country announced its intention to bid shortly after FIFA’s call for bids on October 4.
The president of the Asian Football Confederation expressed full support for Saudi Arabia’s bid, emphasizing solidarity across the Asian football community.
While discussions initially pointed to a joint bid involving Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, Indonesia ultimately endorsed Saudi Arabia’s bid.
Despite having successfully hosted the Women’s World Cup this year, Australia has never hosted a men’s World Cup. FA expressed confidence in their ability to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2026 and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2029, envisioning a prosperous decade for Australian football.
FIFA recently awarded the 2030 World Cup to Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, also designating centenary games in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay.
Advocacy groups like the Sport & Rights Alliance and Amnesty International stress the importance of FIFA securing explicit commitments to enhance human rights in countries likely to host the 2030 and 2034 men’s World Cup tournaments to prevent potential abuses.
Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, noted that with only one bid for each tournament, FIFA must clarify its expectations regarding human rights policies and be willing to halt the bidding process if significant human rights risks are not adequately addressed.