October 20 – Having already all but been assured of the 2034 men’s World Cup, Saudi Arabia has now expressed an interest in staging the women’s version a year later.
Germany’s Monika Staab (pictured centre) a former player and previously manager of the Saudi Arabia women’s team, is now its technical director and wants to see the showpiece tournament visit the Kingdom twice in two years.
“I believe it’s a bright future,” said Staab, speaking as part of the Leaders in Sport conference at Twickenham. “I told them it takes time to go to the World Cup. I know they want to host the Men’s World Cup [in 2034]. Why not hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2035?
“They want to host the AFC [Women’s Asian Cup] competition in 2026. So we are now getting a team ready to be at least competing at that level.”
“What I really like about the [Saudi Arabian Football] Federation’s strategy is a long-term strategy,” Staab added. “I told all the big bosses in Saudi that it takes time to develop but we need to make sure that every girl in Saudi Arabia gets the opportunity to play.”
Any potential bid for 2035 could put the Saudis on a collision course with possible counter bids from Britain, a joint United States-Mexico offer and separate bids from Brazil and South Africa.
Saudi Arabia’s last attempt to align itself with international women’s football fell flat after a widespread backlash. Visit Saudi had been in talks with FIFA for a major sponsorship deal at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, only for the deal to break down.
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