Australia pulls out of running for 2034 FIFA World Cup hosting rights
Australia has officially announced its decision not to bid for the 2034 FIFA World Cup, clearing the way for Saudi Arabia to potentially host the tournament. Football Australia (FA) released a statement just hours before FIFA’s deadline for declarations of interest, confirming their choice not to submit a bid.
FA’s statement read: ‘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.’
While Australia won’t bid for the 2034 World Cup, FA emphasised its interest in hosting the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup. The statement highlighted the advantages of Australia’s time zones for broadcasters and its proximity to billions of people in Asia and Oceania, which offer a strong commercial outlook for hosting international competitions.
Australia had received indirect warnings from influential figures in the world of football not to bid for the 2034 Men’s World Cup before the deadline.
An international bloc had been showing support for a Saudi Arabia bid since FIFA announced the process for the 2034 tournament earlier in the month. The tournament is designated for a country within the Asian confederation, of which Australia is a part.
Shortly after FIFA’s announcement, Saudi Arabia submitted its declaration of interest, and the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, expressed his support for the Saudi bid. Several other federations, including Japan, Uzbekistan and India, have issued public statements supporting Saudi Arabia’s bid.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, addressing the same meeting, called for “unity” among its members and emphasised their role in fostering global unity.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has claimed to have support from over 100 of FIFA’s 211 member associations, which will vote to determine the host next year if another bidder emerges.
Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, executive of the Japan Football Association, expressed Japan’s desire to host the World Cup by 2050 and urged Asian unity to make a single bid for the tournament.
“We were bidding for FIFA Women’s World Cup [in 2023] and at the very last stage Japan withdrew for the bidding to make one bid from Asia after various talks with relevant parties,” Miyamoto said.
“As a result Asia won the bid and we saw the greatest success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year.”
The deadline for expressions of interest was 5pm Central European Time on Tuesday, October 31, corresponding to 3am on Wednesday in Sydney.