YOUR REACTIONS to Saudi Arabia’s ‘done deal’ to host the 2034 World Cup after FIFA’s decision to give 2030 edition to six nations across three separate continents
- The 2030 World Cup is to be staged in six different countries in three continents
- Only nations from Asia and Oceania can bid for 2034 with Saudi Arabia favoured
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off’
Football fans have decried the decision to award the 2030 World Cup to six nations across three continents which has all but ensured Saudi Arabia will host the 2034 edition.
In a surprise move last Wednesday, FIFA announced that Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay will each host one of three opening games in the 2030 World Cup, 100 years after Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup.
And then Spain, Portugal and Morocco will share the other 101 games of a 104-game, 48-team tournament between them.
On account of the governing body’s recent practice of rotating hosting duties around each confederation, FIFA then confirmed that the 2034 World Cup would be open to bidders from only Asia and Oceania.
The Saudi’s were quick to throw their hat in the ring and were backed up by Sheik Salman of Bahrain, the most powerful man in Asian football, who said: ‘The entire Asian football family will stand united in support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s momentous initiative, and we are committed to working closely with the global football family to ensure its success.’
Many fans slammed FIFA for the manner in which hosting rights appear to have been decided
FIFA president Gianni Infantino is reportedly close to Saudi’s ruler Mohammed bin Salman
The crown prince has overseen investment into the sports industry on an enormous scale
Sources close to the corridors of power have told Mail Sport: ‘A Saudi World Cup in 2034 isn’t just likely, it’s basically a done deal. Money has talked again, and the event will be worth billions in new cash for FIFA.’
This series of events has not come as a shock to fans who have observed Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in the global game, highlighted best by the remarkable summer spending spree of a host of clubs in the Saudi Pro League.
Nevertheless, many of our readers were still keen to voice their displeasure at the manner in which hosting rights appear to have been decided. One called for the outright abolition of FIFA, while another said president Gianni Infantino is no better than disgraced former head Sepp Blatter.
FIFA were lambasted by environmentalists for the carbon footprint this arrangement will entail. But arguably the most aggreved party was Australia who, despite being eligible to enter the bidding process, stand little chance of success with the Gulf state’s support on the continent and further afield.
The nation staged the 2023 Women’s World Cup and wanted to host 2034 But Saudi Arabia will gain most of Asia’s 47 votes and all 54 from Africa. Infantino is also close to Saudi’s ruler Mohammed bin Salman.
The 53-year-old, who was re-elected as FIFA boss unopposed in March, drew specific ire with one reader writing: ‘FIFA has the same problems under Infantino as when Blatter was head.
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Morocco, Spain and Portugal are set to host the 2030 World Cup, with 2022 winners Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay set to stage the first three games of the tournament
‘The European and maybe South American teams should resign from FIFA and form a new authority. Lets face it the winners always come from one of those continents. I am tired of football minnows having the same voting rights as senior countries. Saudi and Qatar have no football heritage.’
‘Used to love football but it is just a money-go-round now.’ Another wrote. ‘The competitions are so many they are meaningless and the players are grossly overpaid.
‘Football goes where the money is and so called fans have to follow. Not me.’
A few of our readers were particularly exacerbated by the expanded format which will be introduced for the first time at the 2026 World Cup and feature 48 teams.
‘104 game World Cup..stupid, another winter World Cup then? They wrote. ‘Another ruined domestic season. I am tired of football. Gonna start following grass growing competitions.’
European nations Spain and Portugal picking up most of the games in 2030 ensured that UK’s wait to host a World Cup match extends well beyond 60 years. The country looks set to recieve a consolation prize in the shape of hosting rights for the 2028 European Championships alongside Ireland.
Still, some readers appear to have not been appeased by the deal and have called for the return of World Cup matches on these shores for the first time since the 1966 final.
‘Qatar 22 – Saudi 34 – 12 years apart in the same area of the world.’ One wrote. ‘In an area of the world that is far from a particular world tourist destination and a dry country!
‘Yet the UK have waited what will be in excess of 60 plus years yet we have the best infrastructure, stadiums and hotels already in place. Not to mention the world’s most popular league! Amazing what bloody money buys you!’
Another added: ‘One on hand i can see the 100 year anniversary and sharing the burden of a competition between actual heritage nations including Uruguay who have won two World Cups by the way, but Saudi?
‘When is England going to get a World Cup? We gave birth to the sport for goodness sake.’
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