Australia decided on Tuesday against bidding for the 2034 men’s football World Cup, paving the way for Saudi Arabia to host the event.
Football Australia pulled its bid on the October 31 deadline, after the Asian Football Confederation threw its weight behind Saudi Arabia, which is the hot favourite to land the event.
“We have explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup and — having taken all factors into consideration — we reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition,” Football Australia said in a statement.
FIFA has invited bids from the Asia and Oceania regions for the rotating World Cup hosting rights after naming Morocco, Spain and Portugal as joint hosts for 2030.
There had been talk of a joint bid from Indonesia and Australia for 2034, but the former recently said it supported the Saudi bid.
Saudi Arabia’s ambition to host the 2034 World Cup is the latest step in a campaign to turn the kingdom into a global sports powerhouse.
Neighbouring Qatar last year hosted the first World Cup in the Middle East.
Australia is now eyeing the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026 and the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.
“Achieving this — following the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games — would represent a truly golden decade for Australian football,” Football Australia said.
Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted the Women’s World Cup this year, a competition that was generally regarded as a success.