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Explained: How altered FIFA stadium rules have cleared the way for Saudi Arabia to host 2034 World Cup

  • FIFA alter World Cup bidding rules for 2034
  • Existing stadium threshold lowered
  • Saudi Arabia was already favorite to host

WHAT HAPPENED? FIFA has relaxed the bidding rules for the 2034 World Cup when it comes to stadiums, as revealed in a report by The Guardian. Originally, bidding protocol for the 2030 and 2034 World Cups dictated that bidders must submit a minimum of 14 proposed stadiums, of which seven must already exist. But the rules for 2034 has seen the threshold drop to only four existing stadiums, which can also include those currently being constructed.

WHAT THEY SAID: A FIFA spokesperson said: "The bidding regulations require FIFA to use the 2030 requirements as a base and adapt where appropriate and applicable to make them fit for purpose.

"The requirement for four existing stadiums for the 2034 edition factors in the significantly longer lead in time to the tournament and guards against infrastructure being more out of date, making allowance for having the best quality possible."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Saudi Arabia is already the heavy favourite to host the World Cup in 2034, which is only open to bidders from Asia and Oceania after FIFA recently decided to make the 2030 World Cup a joint effort between South America, south-west Europe and north Africa. Australia is also interested in hosting in 2034, although Asian and African support is behind the Saudi bid.


20230302 FIFA World Cup TrophyGetty ImagesGianni InfantinoGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR 2034 WORLD CUP BIDDING? Although potential bidders have been expressing interest for a while, the bidding process only formally began at the start of October and the deadline for confirmed interest is the end of the month. After that, bidding agreements must be completed by the end of November.