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Saudi get boost to host 2034 World Cup as Australia withdraws

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The coast appears all cleared for Saudi Arabia to host the World Cup in 2034 after Australia confirmed it would not make a bid for football’s global showpiece on Tuesday’s deadline day.FIFA had invited bids from Asia and Oceania for the tournament by October 31.

Football Australia (FA) boss James Johnson had said the country was “exploring the possibility” of 2034, but on Tuesday the governing body said it would instead focus on bids for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup.

Australia’s decision to not proceed with 2034 leaves Saudi Arabia as the only confirmed bidder.

Saudi Arabia announced it would bid only minutes after football’s global governing body called for Asia and Oceania bids on October 4.

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The president of the Asian Football Confederation, the sport’s continental governing body to which Australia belongs, said “the entire Asian football family” would stand united in support of the Saudi bid.

A week after Fifa’s invitation, Indonesia said it was in discussions with Australia about a possible joint bid along with Malaysia and Singapore — before saying a week later that it backed Saudi Arabia’s bid.

Australia hosted a successful Women’s World Cup this year but has never hosted a men’s World Cup.

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“We believe we are in a strong position to host the oldest women’s international competition in the world — the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 and then welcome the greatest teams in world football for the 2029 Fifa Club World Cup,” FA said.

“Achieving this … would represent a truly golden decade for Australian football.” Fifa awarded the 2030 World Cup to Morocco, Portugal and Spain, also adding World Cup centenary games in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

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