Australia has decided not to bid for the 2034 Men’s World Cup — leaving Saudi Arabia as the only candidate remaining.
FIFA’s deadline for declarations of interest is on Tuesday at 4pm GMT, and less than a day before that cut-off point, Football Australia made it clear they would not be bidding to host the competition.
“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,” a statement read.
Saudi Arabia has made their interest in hosting the 2034 tournament public, while the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa also supported their bid.
The tournament is guaranteed to take place in a country in the Asian confederation, which counts both Australia and Saudi Arabia as members.
Australia’s neighbours Indonesia also backed the Saudi bid. AFC members Japan, Uzbekistan and India threw their weight behind the Saudi bid at an AFC extraordinary conference.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino spoke at the same event and said: “You have a responsibility in this respect, you play an important role in this unity of the world, so I count on you in this respect.”
Saudi Arabia has claimed support from over 100 of FIFA’s 211 member associations, who will decide the host of the World Cup during a vote in 2024 if a second bidder emerges before Tuesday’s deadline.
After withdrawing from the race for the World Cup, Australia’s FA has said they want to host the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup.
The 2026 World Cup will take place in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The hosts of the 2030 edition will be Morocco, Portugal and Spain, with centenary ceremony matches also taking place in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.
(Photo: MUHAMMAD FAROOQ/AFP via Getty Images)