The host of the World Cup in 2034 will be Saudi Arabia as FIFA president Gianni Infantino has confirmed the tournament will return to the Middle East 12 years after it hosted its first in 2022.
It was reported on Tuesday that rival bidders Australia decided against putting their bid forward, having been given a 25-day deadline by FIFA to express interest when the deadline was unexpectedly brought forward to 4pm GMT on Tuesday.
This left Saudi Arabia as the sole bidder for the 2034 edition of the World Cup and President Gianni Infantino has confirmed the Middle Eastern country as the host nation in 11 years’ time.
The 52-year-old said about the decision via Fabrizio Romano: “Football unites the world like no other sport, a World Cup is the perfect showcase for a message of unity and inclusion.
“Different cultures can be together”.
?? OFFICIAL: World Cup 2034 will be hosted by Saudi Arabia, as president Gianni Infantino has confirmed. ??
“Football unites the world like no other sport, World Cup is perfect showcase for a message of unity and inclusion”.
“Different cultures can be together”. pic.twitter.com/ScNJqPzPf7
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 31, 2023
The decision to award Saudi Arabia the tournament was met with a lot of questions regarding human rights issues, which was similar to that in 2022 as Qatar hosted the World’s biggest sports competition.
According to Insidethegames, FIFA has been accused by Human Rights Watch of ignoring its own rules through its process for awarding the 2030 and 2034 World Cups.
They believe that FIFA set it up for the Saudis to win by setting a tight deadline of October 31 for countries to register interest in hosting the 2034 World Cup, and ruled it can only be held in Asia or Oceania. Therefore, Saudi Arabia became the only country to bid for the 2034 tournament.
This is an issue that will not go away in the lead-up to the tournament in 11 years’ time as it is a major question that once again needs to be answered by football’s governing body.