FIFA World Cup 2034
The 2034 men’s FIFA World Cup is highly likely to be hosted by Saudi Arabia, bringing together two exceptionally influential figures in global sports: the head of soccer’s governing body and the crown prince of the kingdom.
FIFA World Cup led by President Gianni Infantino, has prolonged its presence in Persian Gulf countries to make a significant effect on international soccer.
While there are critics who declare those efforts are stimulated via means of monetary gain, others argue that it poses a hazard to the sport’s integrity. Detractors also express concerns that FIFA World Cup commitment to protecting human rights may be at risk.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading a significant Saudi investment in athletics, such as soccer and golf, which some critics call sports washing – a means to improve public perception.
However, it is worth noting that in 2018, U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Prince Mohammed likely authorized the killing, although Riyadh continues to deny his involvement.
Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed
Saudi Arabia is currently the only bidder for the 2034 hosting rights, as Australia opted out of the expedited FIFA World Cup process aimed at selecting a single winner for this prestigious global sporting event. The revenue generated from the men’s FIFA World Cup is expected to exceed $10 billion for FIFA World Cup, which operates out of Switzerland and primarily benefits from tax exemptions.
FIFA World Cup Saudi Arabia
Infantino has expressed high praise for heads of state hosting soccer events and has developed a stronger relationship with Saudi Arabia since visiting King Salman, Prince Mohammed’s father, in Riyadh in December 2017. Furthermore, he has been dedicating more time to building connections with Prince Mohammed, commonly called Mb
United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
Infantino attended a summit of Gulf leaders that recently resolved a long-standing embargo against Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He additionally attended the White House to signal the “Abraham Accords.” The ceremony, led by then-President Donald Trump, aimed to formalize diplomatic members of the family among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his good fortune in engaging with football enthusiasts across the Gulf region regarding the beautiful game.
Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030
Soccer plays a pivotal role in Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 initiative, which aims to develop the tourism and entertainment sectors to ensure the oil-rich kingdom’s prosperity in an era shifting towards renewable energy sources.
Notably, Saudi Arabia has made substantial investments in the English club Newcastle, served as a sponsor for the FIFA World Cup and additional tournaments, and successfully attracted high-profile players such as Cristiano Ronaldo from Europe to rejuvenate its domestic league since 2021.
$25 Billion Deal
According to Middle East expert James Dorsey, Mohammed bin Salman has a solid aspiration to establish Saudi Arabia as a prominent centre for various aspects. Gianni Infantino, a Swiss lawyer, was elected in 2016 as the leader of international soccer. Notable policy proposals that he has advocated for, although facing opposition from other soccer leaders, include:
- A $25 billion deal to introduce new competition primarily supported by Saudi sovereign wealth.
- Expanding the 2022 FIFA World Cup from 32 to 48 teams and pressuring Qatar to allow neighbouring states to host games.
- Considering the possibility of hosting FIFA World Cup every two years instead of the current four-year cycle.
FIFA World Cup had initially shown strong support for China as a potential host for the FIFA World Cup in 2030. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA World Cup had to cancel its plans to relaunch the Club World Cup event in China in June 2021.
FIFA World Cup
Considering the intricacies of soccer politics, it became evident that Europe would likely be awarded the hosting rights for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. This decision comes after Russia hosted the tournament in 2018, Qatar is set to host in 2022, and the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Saudi officials collaborated with Egypt and Greece, the latter of which met with Infantino in August 2022, to devise a three-continent plan. However, this plan eventually lost traction.
In June, Infantino decided to postpone the introduction of the rules for the 2030 bid, providing the Saudis with more time following Greece’s official withdrawal.
On October 4, during a remote online meeting of Infantino’s council comprising 37 members, a six-nation plan for Europe, Africa, and South America was accepted as the sole candidate for 2030. However, what came as a surprise was the immediate opening of the 2034 contest exclusively to members from Asia and Oceania.
Saudi officials collaborated with Egypt and Greece to create a three-continent plan. However, this plan eventually lost momentum.
In June, Infantino decided to delay the implementation of the rules for the 2030 bid, giving the Saudis more time after Greece officially withdrew.
On October 4, during a remote online meeting of Infantino’s council consisting of 37 members, a six-nation plan for Europe, Africa, and South America was accepted as the candidate for 2030. However, there was a surprise announcement that the 2034 contest would immediately open exclusively to members from Asia and Oceania.
Football, as the leading global sport, has the unique ability to unite people in an increasingly divided and aggressive world.
FIFA World Cup 2034
The FIFA World Cup leader emphasized this in a statement, recognizing the upcoming FIFA World Cups as a force for good. Similarly, the soccer federation president of Saudi Arabia expressed commitment to growing the game worldwide and inspiring future generations.
Despite allegations of using sports to cover up a poor human rights record, the Saudi crown prince dismisses such claims, prioritizing the potential economic benefits of “sportswashing.”