Australia leaves 2034 World Cup bid for Saudi

A view of Al Bayt Stadium and a FIFA World Cup, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Al Khor, Qatar on November 02, 2022. Al Bayt Stadium is with a capacity of 60 thousand people, this stadium is inspired by the tents called "byt al sha'ar" used by the local people for many years. Photograph: Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Australia on Tuesday decided against bidding for the 2034 football World Cup, strengthening Saudi Arabia’s position as the favourite to host the event.

Football Australia pulled its bid on the October 31 deadline after the Asian Football Confederation threw its weight behind Saudi Arabia.

“We have explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup and — having taken all factors into consideration — we reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition,” Football Australia said in a statement.

Global football body FIFA has invited bids from the Asia and Oceania regions for the rotating World Cup hosting rights after naming Morocco, Spain and Portugal as joint hosts for 2030.

Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted the Women’s World Cup this year and it was generally regarded as a success.

Saudi Arabia’s ambition to host the 2034 men’s World Cup is the latest step in a campaign to turn the kingdom into a global sports powerhouse.