The Road to History: Saudi Arabia to Host the 2034 FIFA World Cup

Cricket Warrior

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Saudi Arabia is all but certain to host the men’s 2034 FIFA World Cup after the Australian football federation declined to enter the bidding contest.

FIFA had set Tuesday as the deadline to submit a bid to host the tournament, but Australia’s decision to pull out leaves Saudi Arabia as the only declared candidate.

FIFA still needs to rubber stamp Saudi Arabia as the hosts – a decision that is likely to be made next year – but victory now seems a formality.
 
Good for the Saudi people. Atleast they will relax alot of laws in the process for this.

Ironically, when the laws are relaxed, Pakistani people go crazy and link human rights to a sign of day of judgement. lol
 
I really didn't expect the World Cup to return to the middle east that soon.

It still would be great if they sort of changed the 2030 World Cup hosts though
 
Congrats. It feels so long away. So much can change in the region in that time.
 
Congrats. It feels so long away. So much can change in the region in that time.
i remember when london won the bid for the 2012 olympics and it felt like such a long time away, now the olympics themselves feel like ancient history, time goes too fast when you get old.
 
Is it true that no other country bid for this ? How is it possible ? Is this tournament also a losing project for the Hosts ? I thought many countries would be competing to host the World's Most popular Sporting event.
 
I just really hope that this time, there are no labour work issues and labour workers rights gets solved ASAP.
 
I have the following predictions:

- Saudi League will be one of the biggest leagues in the world by 2034

- By 2034, the UCL will not be the premier club competition in the world. It will be overshadowed by the redesigned Club World Cup where Clubs from Europe, Asia, North & Latin America will be competing with each other

- India will host a World Cup by 2050. FIFA would eventually fully tap into the billion eyeballs market and they have already started doing that at junior levels

All of this is a slap in the faces of the those who thought and assumed that European dominance will stay forever. Europe had its run for a good 100 years but now the balance of power is slowly but surely shifting.
 
Just like Formula One where there are now 4 races (Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah), the Arabs are looking to throw money to get more football into their venues. Fair play to them, and coupled with inter-Arab rivalry there will always be some Sheikh to outbid another over time.
 
I have the following predictions:

- Saudi League will be one of the biggest leagues in the world by 2034

- By 2034, the UCL will not be the premier club competition in the world. It will be overshadowed by the redesigned Club World Cup where Clubs from Europe, Asia, North & Latin America will be competing with each other

- India will host a World Cup by 2050. FIFA would eventually fully tap into the billion eyeballs market and they have already started doing that at junior levels

All of this is a slap in the faces of the those who thought and assumed that European dominance will stay forever. Europe had its run for a good 100 years but now the balance of power is slowly but surely shifting.
What happens when the petrodollars run out?
Sports is not really the first stage of an open and diverse society. Unless you have homegrown talents and sports culture, all this money is just waste.
European domination was going to end. But it will not be a saudi sunrise by anymeans. Sponsored, subsidized promotions do not last long and fade away very quickly. India might have a better chance by 2050 or later with its organic growth.
 
New research claims to show the extent and scale of Saudi Arabian state investment and involvement in sport for the first time.

The report published by Play the Game - run by the Danish Institute for Sport Studies, which is funded by the country's government - found 312 sponsorship deals across 21 sports, as well as multi-sport events.

Play the Game's data was released days after the gulf kingdom was confirmed as the sole bidder for the 2034 World Cup.

The research details how football is the main focus with 83 of the 312 deals - motorsport, with 34 deals, and golf, with 33, are the two sports with the greatest number of agreements after that.

The research suggests 139 of the deals are connected directly to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund - the Public Investment Fund (PIF), that estimates its wealth assets at $700bn (£574bn), and which also owns Newcastle United.

Both the PIF and Saudi Sports Ministry have been approached for comment.

In June, Newcastle confirmed PIF-owned events company Sela as their new shirt sponsor on a multi-year deal, one of a number of Saudi partnerships it now has.

This year, PIF also took over four leading Saudi Pro League football clubs.

In addition, it owns and finances the LIV Golf series.

In October, the country's tourism board Visit Saudi became the main sponsor of the new African Football League, and the official global partner of the Asian Football Confederation. It also has a sponsorship deal with Spain's La Liga.

Saudi Arabia's national oil company Aramco, meanwhile, is a major sponsor of Formula 1 and has a global partnership with the International Cricket Council, the sport's world governing body.

Play the Game researcher Stanis Elsborg told BBC Sport that the research was based on publicly available information and represents "a minimum" figure.

"Saudi Arabia's sports strategy is run by a small group of individuals that hold important positions inside and outside sport at the same time," he said.

"We wanted to show that these people engage in world politics on behalf of Saudi Arabia, both as representatives of the sports world but mainly as state representatives of the geo-political interests of Saudi Arabia."

Earlier this year, in a US court case, documents published by LIV Golf's lawyers described the PIF as "a sovereign instrumentality of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan - the chairman of both Aramco and Newcastle United - as "a sitting minister of the government".

Saudi Arabia has been criticised for its human rights violations - 81 men were executed on one day last year - women's rights abuses, the criminalisation of homosexuality, the restriction of free speech and the war in Yemen.

The country's international standing was severely damaged by the 2018 killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi journalist who was a prominent critic of the government.

Human rights campaigners say sport is being used by the Saudi government to detract from long-standing reputation issues, a process known as 'sportswashing'.

Environmental campaigners have also raised their concerns.

Freddie Daley, from environmental campaign group Badvertising, said: "Saudi Arabia's push into sport is a concerted, targeted and strategically astute effort for the country to bolster its standing on the world stage and leverage the soft power of sport."

Daley said Saudi Arabia is a "country deeply dependent on fossil fuels" and that its "massive presence within sport" allows it to continue "promoting and normalising high-carbon products to billions of fans".

He added: "This research shows how extensively global sport is becoming intertwined with Saudi investment and hosting the World Cup in 2034 is set to be the cherry on top."

The Saudi authorities have previously rejected such criticism, insisting that their investments are designed to help sports to grow, modernise the country as part of the ruling crown prince's 'Vision 2030' strategy, diversify the economy away from a reliance on oil, boost tourism, and inspire a youthful population to be more active.

Other oil-rich countries such as the United Arab Emirates also have government-owned companies such as Emirates and Mubadala with sponsorship portfolios including European football clubs, stadiums and high-profile sporting events.

BBC
 
Unlikely to happen, 11 years time the world will be a very different place.
 
I guess that means Palestinians can say goodbye to any last hope. No way MBS would have been granted this if he was leaning against Israel or west.
 
Saudi Arabia ready to host 2034 World Cup: Sports minister

Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has talked up the sporting and economic opportunities of the Kingdom hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup, saying his country is ready to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

In an interview with the BBC, he raised the prospect of the Kingdom hosting the competition in the summer rather than the winter, noted the importance of sport in a country where the majority of citizens are below the age of 30, and discussed the progress made by the Saudi Pro League.

The government has invested over £5 billion ($6.26 billion) in sports since 2021 as part of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from dependence on fossil fuels.

With the FIFA Club World Cup set to begin in the Kingdom next month, Prince Abdulaziz said Saudi Arabia is more than ready to host the biggest prize in football.

“We’ve showcased that — we’ve hosted more than 85 global events and we’ve delivered on the highest level,” he said.

“We want to attract the world through sports. Hopefully, by 2034, people will have an extraordinary World Cup.”

Since 2021, Saudi Arabia has hosted high-profile boxing matches, ATP tennis tournaments and Formula 1 racing.

The Public Investment Fund made waves when taking control of Premier League side Newcastle United and setting up the LIV Golf tour.

“Twenty million of our population are below the age of 30, so we need to get them engaged — we are playing our role to develop sports within the world and to be part of the international community,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

He added that lessons would be taken from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in neighboring Qatar, which had to be held in winter to avoid high temperatures.

He said Saudi Arabia is “definitely” looking into whether a summer contest would be feasible.

“Why not see what the possibilities are to do it in the summer? Whether it is summer or winter, it doesn’t matter for us, as long as we make sure that we (deliver) the right atmosphere to host such an event,” he added.

On the subject of the World Cup’s sustainability, Prince Abdulaziz said: “It’s a mandate on us in the Kingdom to make sure that we abide by the international regulations … to make sure that we play our role, to make sure that it’s eco-friendly.”

He addressed the progress of football in the Kingdom, which has taken on global significance since the £750 million influx of big names to the Saudi Pro League earlier this year, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Neymar.

At grassroots, too, football is gaining in popularity, and the Kingdom even sees over 70,000 women and girls regularly taking part in the sport.

“All of our big matches have attracted record numbers so far … We’re broadcasting to 147 countries around the world,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

“When we planned to develop the league we never thought that we would do it with such pace, but to see that is actually refreshing and it actually showcases the importance of this. Our focus is to develop our league to attract the best in the world.”


 
Good for the country, good for Arab world to show their strength…..

Saudi Arabia also hosting Jeddah Film Festival every year and calling film fraternities across the globe
 
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