According to rumors, Saudi Arabia is exploring a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with Italy, which is located almost 2,000 miles distant from the Gulf country.
Boris Johnson confirmed in March that the United Kingdom and Ireland want to ‘bring football home’ in the summer of 2030, and the bidding process for the most popular football event in the world is still in its early stages.
By that year, the World Cup will have grown to 48 teams and 80 matches, making the tournament’s hosting in multiple countries a more appealing option for FIFA.
According to sources, Saudi Arabia is teaming up with US-based global consultant firm Boston Consultancy Group to investigate a joint-bid with several choices, though Italy is the most likely contender. Italy, who won Euro 2020 this month, is based roughly 2,250 miles away from the Gulf state, and according to The Athletic, Saudi Arabia is teaming up with US-based global consultancy firm Boston Consultancy Group to explore a joint-bid with several options, though Italy is the most likely candidate.
The Saudis have also been consulted on a possible three-way hosting proposal with Morocco and Egypt as part of a MENA (Middle East and North Africa) campaign, according to the source, although the two other countries would require significant infrastructure spending to host the World Cup.
After watching Qatar secure the hosting rights for next year’s World Cup, Saudi Arabia’s clout in the sporting world has grown in recent years.
The Saudis are also apparently mulling a three-way candidacy for 2030 with Egypt and Morocco. In December 2019, the country hosted Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight fight with Andy Ruiz Jr, as well as the Dakar Rally.
For the first time, Saudi Arabia joined a Grand Prix in the Formula One Championship this year, while the country’s sovereign wealth fund attempted but failed to buy Newcastle United last year.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia and Italy have forged a sporting alliance, with the Gulf state hosting the last two Italian Super Cup finals – and will do so again this year.
Italy, who won the Euro 2020 final by defeating England, has also hosted four major tournaments, none of which have been in the recent 30 years. However, they did host some of this summer’s European Championship matches.
Saudi Arabia’s sporting influence has expanded – it staged one Anthony Joshua fight and spearheaded a takeover bid for Newcastle United in England. But, there are still worries about various aspects of Saudi Arabia’s interest in co-hosting the World Cup, most notably its terrible human rights record.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was one of the driving factors behind the acquisition effort for Newcastle United last year, has implemented several changes, including prohibiting child marriage, lowering capital punishment, and legalizing female drivers.
Nonetheless, the country’s role in the Yemen civil war, as well as the plot to assassinate journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, are hot topics.
However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) is plotting a four-nation plus-Ireland bid for the 2030 World Cup. Meanwhile, the four UK nations and Ireland remain optimistic about putting together a successful united bid for the 2030 World Cup, with PM Johnson and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at the forefront of early talks.
‘It will be a true pan bid,’ a government insider told The Telegraph this week.
It will be a case of all of us joining together and putting on a spectacular competition for the entire world to see.
‘I believe it will demonstrate the power of our collaboration.’
‘It’s a tremendous opportunity for us all to come together and deliver.’ However, the nation’s chances of hosting the popular football tournament were harmed by tumultuous scenes at Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 final on July 11 – which saw 5,000 hooligans enter the national stadium without a ticket.
UEFA has charged the FA with invasion of the field of play by fans, throwing of objects by fans, causing disturbance during the national anthem by fans, and igniting a firework by fans.
The allegations come three days after the FA was fined PS25,630 for crowd disturbances at the same venue in North West London, including the flashing of a laser pointer at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during England’s semi-final win.