Saudi Arabia is expected to host the 2034 FIFA Men’s World Cup after Australia, the only other confirmed contender, dropped out. This would be a major coup for the kingdom, which has been investing heavily in sports in recent years as part of its Vision 2030 economic diversification plan.
Saudi Arabia’s Motivation
There are several reasons why Saudi Arabia is so keen to host the World Cup. First, it would be a major showcase for the country and its progress on social and economic reforms. Second, it would generate billions of dollars in revenue and create thousands of jobs. Third, it would help to boost Saudi Arabia’s soft power and image abroad.
Saudi Arabia’s Qualifications
Saudi Arabia has the financial resources and infrastructure to host a successful World Cup. The kingdom is already home to several world-class stadiums, and it is investing in building more. Saudi Arabia also has a strong track record of hosting major sporting events, including the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
However, there are also some challenges that Saudi Arabia will need to overcome if it is to host the World Cup successfully. One challenge is the country’s human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been criticized for its treatment of women, migrant workers, and dissidents. Another challenge is the climate. Saudi Arabia is a very hot country, and it would be difficult to stage a World Cup in the summer months.
Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the World Cup has political implications as well. The kingdom is a close ally of the United States, and a successful World Cup would be seen as a victory for both countries. However, it is also possible that Saudi Arabia’s bid could be seen as an attempt to sportswash its human rights record.
Saudi Arabia is well-positioned to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup. It has the financial resources, infrastructure, and experience necessary to stage a successful tournament. However, the kingdom will need to address its human rights record and the climate challenges if it wants to win the bid.
Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the World Cup is part of a broader strategy to increase its footprint in the world of sports. The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund has invested heavily in soccer, golf, and other sports. This strategy is designed to help Saudi Arabia achieve its Vision 2030 economic diversification plan and to boost its soft power and image abroad.
Saudi Arabia’s bid for the World Cup is also likely to be seen as a sign of its growing confidence on the world stage. The kingdom has been increasingly assertive in its foreign policy in recent years, and it is clear that it is no longer content to play a supporting role on the global stage.
Saudi Arabia’s bid for the World Cup is likely to be controversial, but it is also likely to be successful. The kingdom has the resources and the connections to get the job done. If Saudi Arabia is awarded the World Cup, it will be a major moment for the kingdom and for the Middle East as a whole.