Saudi Arabia’s Alkassim says 2034 bid is priority and country can be ‘a force for good’

October 17 – The general secretary of the Saudi Arabian Football Association (SAFF), Ibrahim Alkassim, has reiterated his nation’s commitment to their 2034 FIFA World Cup bid, inspired by the growth of the Saudi Pro League alongside the success of the 2022 World Cup in neighbouring Qatar.

Alkassim said that it is committed to hosting the best possible global event for fans, officials, and players.

Speaking on the SAFF YouTube channel, Alkassim said: “Winning the bid is our biggest match, and we will put all our efforts to try and win the bid and to successfully host the World Cup in Saudi Arabia.”

The Saudi push for the 2034 World Cup has received backing from the Asian Football Confederation and a bulk of member associations – Alkassim’s words said several MAs but reports have put the number at around 90.

“[The AFC and member associations] all believe in our bid, they all witnessed the growth of the game that happened in Saudi Arabia, they all believe in us on how we can serve as a force for good in football,” said Alkassim.

“FIFA’s vision is to make football global, and as a member of FIFA, we at the Saudi Arabian Football Association have to serve towards that vision. We want to contribute to grow the game around the world. It’s not only for Saudi, it’s for the whole world.”

Saudi Arabian football has rocketed to global prominence this year with the Saudi Pro League collecting a roster of superstar players predominantly from Europe. Despite its controversial financial nature, Saudi Arabia looks destined to becoming a key part of football’s future, which would be cemented by its 2034 World Cup bid.

Alkassim says that the nation will have reached this stage in its development by 2034 that will see it ready to host a 48-team World Cup on its own.

“We are talking 11 years from now. It’s a long journey … If we go back to 2016, when the country launched the Vision 2030, seven years later you can see the huge progress that happened here in Saudi Arabia. So, imagine what could happen in the next 11 years.

“We’re not doing this only for the World Cup, we don’t love football only today or tomorrow, we love football forever.”

The hosts for the next two world cups, in 2026 and 2030, have been pretty much decided as joint bids with Canada, Mexico and the United States combining to host 2026, whilst Morocco, Portugal and Spain look set to combine in 2030 in what will be the first ever trans-continental hosting of the FIFA World Cup (though this bid is still to be endorsed by FIFA’s congress and has a number key issues to iron out between the three countries).

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1719265465labto1719265465ofdlr1719265465owedi1719265465sni@g1719265465niwe.1719265465yrrah1719265465

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