FIFA World Cup set to return to Middle East in 2034

The 2034 FIFA World Cup is set to return to the Middle East in 2034 as Saudi Arabia are now on course to stage the tournament unopposed after Australia decided not to bid.

Football Australia said it had “explored the opportunity” of a bid but ultimately chose not to pursue it, leaving Saudi Arabia as the sole bidder.

Australia’s withdrawal comes after the Asian Football Confederation elected to back the Saudi bid for 2034 to push for tournament to return to the region for the second time after Qatar hosted the tournament in 2022.

“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,” the Australian FA said in a statement.

“Instead, we believe we are in a strong position to host the oldest women’s international competition in the world, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, and then welcome the greatest teams in world football for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.

“Achieving this – following the Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games – would represent a truly golden decade for Australian football.”

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