AFC President Expresses Interest in Saudi Arabia Hosting Future World Cup

(MENAFN) Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the President of the Asian football Confederation (AFC), announced that the organization aims to host another World Cup in either 2030 or 2034, with a strong emphasis on Saudi Arabia's potential role in this endeavor. Asia has previously hosted the global tournament twice, with South Korea and Japan co-hosting in 2002, followed by Qatar hosting in 2022.

During a visit to Syria and Lebanon, Shaikh Salman, a Bahraini national, stated that Saudi Arabia possesses the capabilities to organize a World Cup of similar magnitude. The AFC President highlighted the need to select the appropriate timing for the potential bid, weighing the possibilities of hosting in either 2030 or 2034. The decision will be based on evaluating the favorable circumstances and conditions that exist during those respective years.

In 2026, the World Cup is set to expand to include 48 teams, with the hosting duties shared among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Looking ahead, there are two proposed multi-nation bids for the 2030 edition. One bid involves Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, while the other includes Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay, which would bring the centenary World Cup back to the site of the first final in Montevideo. Additionally, last September, there were discussions about a joint bid from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Greece.

Although Saudi Arabia has not officially submitted a candidacy file, H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, the Saudi Minister of Sports, stated in February that "anything is possible." Shaikh Salman emphasized the importance of ensuring unity within the AFC and garnering support from other regions before launching any bid for hosting rights.

The prospect of Saudi Arabia hosting a future World Cup showcases the ambition and potential of the country as a prominent player in international football. The AFC, along with its member associations, will carefully assess the optimal timing and conditions to maximize the chances of a successful bid, taking into account the aspirations of Saudi Arabia and the broader football community.



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