By: Gyang Dakwo
Saudi Arabia is close to securing the right to host the 2034 World Cup with FIFA having confirmed that the kingdom is the only nation to have submitted a declaration of interest ahead of its deadline on Tuesday.
Australia had been viewed as a potential rival to Saudi Arabia, albeit one that seemed destined to fail, but on Tuesday morning their federation (FA) said they would not enter the race, concluding that they did not have any realistic chance of securing a tournament that has long seemed destined for the Middle East.
A statement from the Australian football body released a few hours before FIFA’s deadline said, “We have explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup and – having taken all factors into consideration – we have reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition.”
However, any proposal from Australia would have faced an almighty battle to win the 2034 World Cup, which is only available to nations in Asia and Oceania.
Saudi Arabia’s football federation had said it has the backing of over 100 of FIFA’s 211 members, who would vote on the bids should a second nation declare its interest.