Saudi Arabia was the only football association to present a bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, football’s global governing body FIFA has confirmed. Also hosting the men’s Asian Cup in 2027, the Kingdom has now begun a widespread construction program to build and renovate stadia that will be used for the World Cup. FIFA’s bidding documents say 14 stadia are needed at the 48-team tournament.
The question now, of course, is who will build the stadia over the next 10 years? Four of the favorites, all backed by the Public Investment Fund, are Nesma & Partners, Almabani, Albawani, and El-Seif Engineering Contracting. This quartet of companies has a collective total value of contracts under execution of over $ 17 billion. There are others in the Kingdom, such as the Saudi Binladin Group and Saudi Baytur Construction, that will also be interested, as will a number of overseas contractors.
14 stadia are needed at the 48-team tournament
Australia was the only possible competitor to the Saudi bid but pulled out to leave the Kingdom as the only candidate. A statement by FIFA said: “As established in the Bidding Regulations approved by the FIFA Council, the FIFA administration will conduct thorough bidding and evaluation processes for the 2030 and 2034 editions of the FIFA World Cup, with the hosts to be appointed by FIFA Congresses expected to take place by Q4 2024.”
What this means is that FIFA still needs to rubber-stamp Saudi Arabia as the host. However, this now looks like nothing more than a formality.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has built close ties to Saudi football
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has built close ties to Saudi football and has long been seen as trying to steer the world soccer body’s competitions toward the Kingdom.
Qatar hosted the tournament in November and December, in the heart of the European club football season, to avoid extreme heat in the summer months and the Saudi World Cup will almost certainly be moved from the traditional June-July period to the winter months.