April 17th, 2024

Saudi Arabia launches formal bid to host 2034 World Cup in FIFA contest effectively already won

By Riyadh,Saudi Arabia, The Associated Press on March 1, 2024.

FILE - Saudi Arabia fans support their team during the Asian Cup Round of 16 soccer match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Saudi Arabia launched its formal bid campaign Friday, March 1, 2024, to host the 2034 World Cup, in a race that basically became a formality last October when the oil-rich kingdom was the only candidate to enter the contest. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

Saudi Arabia launched its formal bid campaign Friday to host the 2034 World Cup, in a race that basically became a formality last October when the oil-rich kingdom was the only candidate to enter the contest.

The Saudi Arabian soccer federation revealed the bid slogan “Growing. Together” and a campaign logo of two multi-colored ribbons forming the number 34.

The logo “is designed to capture the essence of Saudi Arabia’s young nation, vibrant society and rich heritage,” the federation said.

FIFA is expected to rubber-stamp Saudi Arabia as host in an uncontested vote by the governing body’s 211 member federations before the end of 2024. A date and venue for the vote has not been announced.

The bid launch gave no new details of host cities and stadiums for the 48-team tournament expected to be held in November-December 2034.

Saudi Arabia currently aims to host the tournament alone, though some games could later be shared with neighboring and nearby states.

The first 48-team men’s World Cup will be held in 2026 in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The 2030 edition will be played mostly in Spain, Portugal and Morocco, with one game each given to Argentina, Paraguay and the inaugural 1930 host Uruguay. Those hosting plans must also be confirmed formally this year.

By locking in Africa, Europe and South America together for 2030, FIFA was able to limit the 2034 hosting to bidders from Asia and Oceania – all but ensuring Saudi Arabia would win.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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