Having suffered a setback in the pursuit of hosting rights for the 2034 World Cup, Football Australia appears to be setting its sights on the FIFA 2029 Club World Cup. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) dealt a crushing blow to Australia’s World Cup bid by throwing its weight behind Saudi Arabia’s proposed multibillion-dollar bid.
The recent triumph of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the exhilarating performance by the Matildas’ who progressed to the semi-finals, fuelled Football Australia’s ambition to host larger tournaments, including the coveted 2034 men’s World Cup. However, these hopes were promptly dashed by the AFC’s endorsement of the Saudi bid.
This sudden chain of events followed closely on the heels of FIFA’s call for bids from Asia and Oceania for the 2034 World Cup. Saudi Arabia, armed with a whopping $600bn in the Public Investment Fund dedicated to attracting premier sporting events, promptly announced their intention to host the tournament.
The outlook of Saudi Arabia, encapsulated by the Saudi Press Agency, reflects a nation actively showcasing advancements across all sectors. As a dynamic hub for hosting major events, there is a strong emphasis on the richness of the nation’s cultural heritage, economic fortitude, and the ambition of its people.
The AFC expressed unequivocal support for Saudi Arabia’s robust initiative. Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the AFC president, affirmed their commitment to facilitating its success by working closely with the global football family.
Despite the setback faced, James Johnson, the Football Australia chief, maintains a strong resolve to pursue the most prestigious events in world football. He publicly acknowledged prospects of placing a bid for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup or the FIFA World Cup 2034, seeing it as another chance for the football community in Asia and Oceania to demonstrate their ability to host top-tier FIFA tournaments.
Previous plans to bid for the World Cup were never formalized, however, expressions of interest were noted, with Johnson stating a desire to bid for big competitions, including the 2029 Club World Cup and the 2034 men’s World Cup.
The FIFA World Club Cup, scheduled for December in Saudi Arabia, brings together winners of the world’s principal continental competitions. This event, following the AFC Asian Cup hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2027, would make Saudi Arabia the third Asian host of the FIFA World Cup after Korea and Japan in 2002 and Qatar in 2022.