In a surprising turn of events, Australia confirmed on Tuesday’s deadline day that it would not bid for the 2034 World Cup, leaving Saudi Arabia as the sole contender for soccer’s global spectacle. FIFA had invited bids from Asia and Oceania, with Saudi Arabia promptly expressing its intention to bid soon after the announcement.
Football Australia (FA) had initially considered the possibility of bidding for 2034 but decided to shift its focus to hosting the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup. Australia, which successfully hosted this year’s Women’s World Cup, has never hosted a men’s World Cup.
The decision narrows down the options for FIFA, raising concerns from human rights organizations. FIFA had already awarded the 2030 World Cup to Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, with additional centenary games planned in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay.
Amidst these developments, calls for FIFA to secure clear and binding commitments to improve human rights in host countries have intensified. Organizations like Amnesty International emphasize the need for FIFA to seriously address potential human rights risks.
As Saudi Arabia stands unopposed in its bid, FIFA faces scrutiny regarding its human rights policies. The international community watches closely, emphasizing the importance of ethical considerations in the selection process for future World Cup hosts.