Saudi Arabian Football Federation announces intention to bid for 2034 FIFA World Cup™
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 4 October 2023 – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced its intention to bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup™.
Led by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), the bid for 2034 intends to deliver a world-class tournament and will draw inspiration from Saudi Arabia's ongoing social and economic transformation and the country's deep-rooted passion for football.
Saudi Arabia’s inaugural FIFA World Cup™ bid is backed by the country’s growing experience of hosting world-class football events and its ongoing plans to welcome fans across the world to the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup™ and 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
Reflecting on the intention to bid, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, emphasized that Saudi Arabia’s desire to bid for the 2034 FIFA World Cup™ is a reflection of the country’s progress in all sectors. The Kingdom has quickly emerged as a leading hub and an international destination for hosting major events thanks to its rich cultural heritage, economic strength and the ambition of its people.
Under Vision 2030, sport is playing a significant role in contributing to the country’s economic growth and enhancing the quality of life for all and holds a unique ability to unite and bring different cultures together. Saudi Arabia will plan to provide an unparalleled experience and an event that brings joy to fans across the globe.
A renowned host for some of the biggest global sports events since 2018, Saudi Arabia has been home to over 50 international events for both male and female athletes including football, motorsports, tennis, equestrian, esports and golf.
Saudi Arabia has qualified for the iconic tournament on six occasions since 1994 – most recently in 2022 – when the Green Falcons secured a historic victory over eventual champions Argentina.
His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee said: “Hosting a FIFA World Cup in 2034 would help us achieve our dream of becoming a leading nation in world sport and would mark a significant milestone in the country’s transformation. As an emerging and welcoming home for all sports, we believe that hosting a FIFA World Cup is a natural next step in our football journey”
Yasser Al Misehal, President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), stated: “We believe the time is right for Saudi Arabia to host the FIFA World Cup™. Our bid is driven by a love for the game and a desire to see it grow in every corner of the world. We want to celebrate our football culture and share our country with the world.”
“We are embracing Saudi Arabia's enthusiasm for innovation and growth as we make our bid for this iconic tournament; the Kingdom’s transformation journey is the driving force behind our bid. We are committed to hosting an exceptional event that celebrates the game, captivates players and fans, and inspires future generations. To be in a position to bid to host a FIFA World Cup™ is only possible with the full support of the Kingdom’s leadership and we thank them for their continued commitment to drive the country forward and open up new opportunities,” Al Misehal added.
As the FIFA World Cup™ expands to a 48-team tournament from 2026 onwards, tournament logistics are front of mind for players, officials, and fans. Saudi Arabia will host all matches in the Kingdom, streamlining travel, optimizing match scheduling, and providing unique fan experiences across host venues and cities.
A young and vibrant nation with over 70% of its population under the age of 35, Saudi Arabia is also home to one of the strongest leagues in Asia, the Saudi Pro League (SPL). Welcoming and engaging fans from across the globe, the league is home to some of the best Saudi talent and international star players from over 45 different countries.
SAFF’s commitment to invest and grow the game at every level across the men’s and women’s game is highlighted by recent notable achievements including winning the men’s U-23 AFC Asian Cup, 160% increase in youth football investment, opening 18 youth regional training centers, increasing registered coaches from 750 in 2018 to over 5,500 today, and witnessing an increase of 56% and 86% in registered male and female players respectively since 2021.
Saudi Arabia’s ambition to grow the game and create new opportunities across the ecosystem is equaled in the women’s game. Since 2019, SAFF has successfully established a senior women’s and U-17 national teams, two professional women’s leagues featuring 38 clubs, and a school girls league which welcomed over 48,000 girls in its first week. In just 2 years, there has also been an 800% growth in the number of female coaches.
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