Saudi Arabia looks set to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
It was the only country to enter a bid for the international football tournament.
Australia was considering a bid to host the event. However, Football Australia confirmed on Tuesday it wouldn’t be putting forward a bid.
How is a World Cup host decided?
To host a World Cup, nations must submit a formal bid to FIFA, football’s global governing body. A team of officials reviews bids to determine the location of future tournaments.
Given Saudi Arabia is the only nation to have made a bid, it will almost certainly be awarded the tournament. However, FIFA will still conduct a formal evaluation of the bid.
FIFA officials will vote to confirm the 2034 hosts by the end of next year.
Saudi Arabia and football
The Saudi Arabian Government has invested heavily in global football in recent years. This includes recruiting some of football’s best players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, to its domestic league.
The Government purchased English Premier League side Newcastle United in 2021 for over $AU500 million. Lionel Messi is an official ambassador for Saudi Arabia tourism.
Through these actions, the Saudi Arabian Government has been accused of ‘softening’ its image through its investment in global sports.
Saudi Arabia controversy
Saudi Arabia has been condemned by world leaders for its human rights record, which includes restrictions on the rights of women and the LGBTQI+ community.
Human rights concerns will be inspected as part of FIFA’s evaluation of Saudi Arabia’s bid. Other factors like infrastructure and sustainability will also be assessed.