Saudi Arabia officially launches bid to host 2034 FIFA World Cup

Sole contender Saudi Arabia, on Friday, officially launched a bid tagged “Growing Together” to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) has announced.

In October last year, Saudi Arabia became the only country in the race to stage the tournament after Australia pulled out of the race a few hours before the FIFA deadline for intending countries to declare their interest.

Despite being the remaining in the race to host the 2034 World Cup, FIFA regulations require the Gulf Kingdom to officially bid for the tournament ahead of confirmation by a FIFA congress later this year.

Speaking about the bid, Yasser Al Misehal, the president of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation, said the country was able to win the bid because of the country’s “rapid transformation”.

“Telling our football story to the world is of massive importance,” he added.

“We’ve made unprecedented progress in both the men’s and women’s game, and our bid is an open invitation to the world to join us on this exciting journey.”

According to the BBC, Saudi Arabia has invested over £5bn in football as the country seeks to diversify its economy in the coming years.

However, some critics, especially in the West, have accused the country of sportwashing, claiming Saudi Arabia, which has hosted other major sporting events such as Formula One, golf and boxing, is doing so to cover its human rights violations.

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