Saudi Arabia 2034 World Cup bid gains global support

Over 70 countries give their backing as kingdom submits letter of intent to Fifa

'Hosting a World Cup means everything to us,' says Saudi football president

'Hosting a World Cup means everything to us,' says Saudi football president
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More than 70 countries have backed Saudi Arabia's bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

Last week, Saudi Arabia announced its bid to host the global finals in 11 years' time. The bid marked a significant day for the Middle East and North Africa region after Fifa announced Morocco had been named as one of the three main hosts of the 2030 edition, alongside Spain and Portugal.

The National understands Thailand and Cuba are the latest countries to express their support for Saudi Arabia's 2034 bid, joining the likes of India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has also officially declared its support for Saudi Arabia's bid.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia formally informed FIFA of its wish to host the men’s World Cup in 2034.

The Saudi Arabian federation said it “submitted a letter of intent and signed declaration to FIFA to bid” in a vote that is open only to members of the Asian and Oceania governing bodies.

The chosen candidate is expected to be announced at a Fifa congress next year.

The host nation automatically qualifies for the global finals.. The World Cup was held in the Middle East for the first time last year in Qatar.

The Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) said it will present "its unique vision" for the World Cup, showcasing the kingdom's rich culture, heritage, and warm hospitality in the coming weeks.

Last week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: "Saudi Arabia’s desire to bid for the 2034 Fifa World Cup is a reflection of the country’s progress in all sectors. The kingdom has quickly emerged as a leading hub and an international destination for hosting major events thanks to its rich cultural heritage, economic strength and the ambition of its people."

In February, the kingdom was confirmed to host the 2027 Asian Cup, while it has also bid to stage the women’s edition of the continent’s marquee tournament in 2026.

Domestically, the Saudi Pro League has undergone a significant revamp following a summer in which it has signed the likes of Neymar, Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante and Jordan Henderson. Global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo moved to the league in January.

Updated: October 09, 2023, 1:57 PM