(FILE) Lionel Messi (R) of Argentina celebrates with the World Cup trophy next to Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (C), the Emir of Qatar, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino (L) during the trophy ceremony after the FIFA World Cup 2022 Final between Argentina and France at Lusail stadium, Lusail, Qatar, 18 December 2022. EFE/EPA/Friedemann Vogel

Saudi Arabia sole candidate to host 2034 World Cup after Australia decides not to bid

Sports Desk, Oct 31 (EFE).- The Australian Football Association announced on Tuesday that it will not submit a bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

The decision paves the way for Saudi Arabia to run as the sole bidder for the tournament in 2034.

In a statement, Football Australia said: “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.”

It added that they would instead bid to host the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.

“Achieving this – following the FIFA 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,” the statement added.

“Football is the number one participation sport in Australia and, in many respects, is reflective of our nation’s diverse population,” Football Australia continued, adding that it “remains committed to contributing positively to the growth and success of football at all levels, including locally, as part of the AFC and globally as part of FIFA.”

The previous World Cup, in Qatar in 2022, was the first to be held in the Arab world.

The next event, the 2026 World Cup, will be held in the US, Mexico and Canada.

The 2030 competition has been awarded to Spain, Portugal and Morocco, while matches will also be held in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup, which was held in Uruguay. EFE