Australia has decided against bidding for the 2034 Fifa World Cup, paving the way for Saudi Arabia to host the tournament. Football Australia issued a statement on Tuesday hours before Fifa’s deadline for declarations of interest confirming it would not lodge a bid.
The Football Association has considered the possibility of submitting a bid to host the Fifa World Cup. After carefully considering all factors, we have decided not to pursue it for the 2034 competition, according to a statement released by the FA.
The FA expressed its desire to host the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup.
The FA stated that the Australian time zones offer great potential for broadcasting during international tournaments. They also mentioned that being close to billions of people in Asia and Oceania contributes to the success of competitions.
Several influential football administrators had cautioned Australia against submitting a bid for the 2034 men’s World Cup before the deadline on Tuesday.
A growing international bloc had thrown its weight behind a Saudi Arabia bid since Fifa announced the process for the 2034 tournament earlier this month. The tournament in 11 years will be hosted by a country in the Asian confederation, of which Australia is a part.
Shortly after Fifa made their announcement, Saudi Arabia declared their interest and the president of the AFC, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, showed his support for their bid.
Afterwards, multiple federations publicly expressed their support, with neighboring country Indonesia also showing its support for Australia. The AFC organized an extraordinary congress, where associations such as Japan, Uzbekistan, and India endorsed the Saudi bid.
The president of Fifa, Gianni Infantino, spoke at the meeting and urged for “unity” among members. He emphasized their responsibility and important role in promoting unity in the world, and expressed his reliance on them in this matter.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation announced that it currently has backing from more than 100 of Fifa’s 211 member associations. These associations will vote to determine the host for next year if another bidder enters the competition.
Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, an executive of the Japan Football Association, stated during the AFC meeting that his country has a goal to host the World Cup in 2050. However, he believes it is now important for Asia to come together and submit a joint bid for the event.
He also mentioned that in the past, Australia has received advantages from the support of Asian countries.
“We were competing to host the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, but Japan ultimately withdrew from the bidding process after discussions with other parties. This led to Asia winning the bid and the subsequent successful hosting of the event in Australia and New Zealand this year,” he stated.
The cutoff for submitting interest is 5pm Central European Time on Tuesday, October 31st, or 3am on Wednesday in Sydney.