Controversial decision: Australia will not apply for the 2034 World Cup - Saudi Arabia will probably host

Australia will not bid for the 2034 Men's World Cup, clearing the way for Saudi Arabia.

Controversial decision: Australia will not apply for the 2034 World Cup - Saudi Arabia will probably host

Australia will not bid for the 2034 Men's World Cup, clearing the way for Saudi Arabia. "We have examined the possibility of applying to host the FIFA World Cup and, after considering all factors, have come to the conclusion that we will not do so for the 2034 competition," the Australian Football Association (FA) said on Tuesday .

The deadline for an expression of interest to the world association FIFA expires this Tuesday. Saudi Arabia, which has already brought world football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo into its own league and wants to gain an international reputation as a host in many other sports, has already made its intentions clear and is considered the clear favorite.

At the beginning of October, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) supported a Saudi application. After there was speculation about a joint application from Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand or from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia also expressed support for Saudi Arabia. As a result, the Australians' already slim chances fell to zero. However, the Australian association's statement neither mentioned Saudi Arabia nor supported the Gulf state's bid.

FIFA recently made a fundamental decision to host the 2030 World Cup initially in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay and then in Morocco, Spain and Portugal, which still needs to be approved by the FIFA Congress. Therefore, only nations from Asia and Oceania can apply for the 2034 tournament. Saudi Arabia announced its intentions almost immediately afterwards. The decision was particularly criticized in Germany. Saudi Arabia, like the previous World Cup host Qatar, has been criticized for its human rights situation and sportswashing.

For the head of Human Rights Watch Germany, a World Cup in Saudi Arabia would be absurd. He thinks “nothing at all” about a World Cup there in 2034, said HRW Germany director Wenzel Michalski in an interview with the German Press Agency. “Because FIFA has set itself a human rights agenda that says that World Cup organizers must respect human rights,” explained the Germany director of HRW.

“And as we know, this is not the case at all with Saudi Arabia.” For him, a World Cup in Saudi Arabia would actually mean betraying all those who would believe FIFA can actually implement its existing human rights standards. The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is even worse than in Qatar.

Australia will instead try to secure hosting rights for the 2029 Club World Cup and the 2026 Women's Asian Cup. Saudi Arabia has also applied for the latter. "We believe we are in a strong position to host the world's oldest international women's competition, the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2026, and then host the best teams in world football for the Fifa Club World Cup 2029," it said FA statement.

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