One option under consideration is to tie up with a major European nation hoping to host the World Cup. So far, only the UK and a partnership of Portugal and Spain, a country whose football federation maintains close ties with Saudi Arabia, have publicly announced their intention to enter the bidding process. Italy, one of Saudi Arabia’s football allies, is also considering an attempt to host the event for the first time since 1990.
Such a cross-continental offer would also require a change in policy from FIFA, which has never staged tournaments on two continents. The 2002 World Cup was shared by Asian neighbors Japan and South Korea. And in 2026 the United States, Mexico and Canada competition will be the first ever World Cup, which by then has expanded from 32 to 48 teams, to be staged in three countries.
For the Saudi bid to be successful, organizers may once again have to persuade the tournament to shift the dates of the tournament from their traditional June-July window to November-December to keep warmer weather at bay. Global football schedules had to be changed to ensure Qatar could stage the tournament safely, and European leagues whose schedules would be changed may be reluctant to repeat the interruption.
However, Saudi Arabia’s hopes are heightened by close ties to FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, who recently drew. Criticism of human rights groups After playing a starring role in A promotional video for the Saudi Ministry of Sports.
In January, Infantino held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of Vision 2030. And FIFA membership agreed last month to a proposal put forward by Saudi Arabia’s football federation to study the possibility of holding the World Cup every two years instead of the current one. quadrilateral format.
This change could allow more countries to enter the bidding.
“It is time to review how the global sport is structured and what is best for the future of our sport,” Yasser al-Mishal, president of Saudi Arabia’s football federation, said at the time. “This should include whether the current four-year cycle remains the optimal basis for how football is managed from a competitive and business perspective.”
A spokesman for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation declined to comment on a possible bid for the World Cup, but also pointed out that the country is fast becoming a destination for high-profile sporting events. In recent years, it has staged major boxing matches, motor races and golf events.