- Saudi Arabia is set to host the 2034 World Cup as it was the only country left in the bidding process after Australia withdrew.
- The country has invested billions of dollars from its Sovereign Wealth Fund to dominate sports in recent years.
- Saudi Arabia has already hosted high-profile events like a boxing match and the Formula One Grand Prix.
- The country is facing criticism from human rights groups for its hosting of the World Cup.
In a surprising turn of events, Saudi Arabia has emerged as the host for the 2034 World Cup. After Australia withdrew from the bidding process just hours before the deadline, Saudi Arabia was left as the sole contender for the coveted tournament. While the tournament is still 11 years away, this is undoubtedly a significant victory for the Middle Eastern country.
Saudi Arabia has been making bold moves in the world of sports in recent years, using its considerable financial resources to assert its dominance. The nation’s Sovereign Wealth Fund has invested billions of dollars to attract top sporting events and athletes. This strategy has already paid off with high-profile events like a boxing match in Riyadh and the annual Formula One Grand Prix.
Notably, Saudi Arabia has also launched its own professional golf tour, the LIV Golf Tour, which has attracted star players like Brooks Koepka. Additionally, the Saudi Pro League has managed to secure renowned athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo. These initiatives have reinforced the country’s ambition to establish itself as a global sports destination.
However, this decision to host the World Cup has not come without criticism. Human rights groups have raised concerns about Saudi Arabia’s track record on human rights and freedom of expression. Hosting such a major international event in a country with these issues may draw further scrutiny from the international community.
Looking beyond sports, Saudi Arabia has been actively working to diversify its economy and attract global investment. The country recently hosted the Future Investment Initiative, an elite conference often referred to as “Davos in the Desert.” This event underlines Saudi Arabia’s determination to transform itself into a hotbed for international business and investment, shifting away from its reliance on oil.
As the country prepares to host the 2034 World Cup, it will face both challenges and opportunities. The spotlight will be on Saudi Arabia, and the world will be watching closely to see how it handles the tournament and addresses the concerns raised by human rights organizations. Only time will tell if the country’s ambitious vision to become a global sports and investment hub will come to fruition.