Norway’s Klaveness critical of FIFA’s 2034 World Cup non-transparent bid process

May 16 – On the sidelines of the FIFA Congress, Norwegian FA (NFF) president Lise Klaveness has criticised the bidding process of the 2034 World Cup, with Saudi Arabia the sole candidate to stage the tournament. 

“It’s not a process according to the statutes,” said Klaveness (pictured).

“We had a big reform after Qatar and Russia, which was a needed reform. Everybody agreed upon it and the key of that reform was that you cannot change the world and football should be played everywhere, but we need risk assessment and human rights tests.”

“Instead of that, we heard nothing. And then the Council went out and said that we have these bidders and very short time limits – just a few weeks and Australia went away.”

FIFA last year steered the 2030 World Cup toward six countries on three continents, paving the way for a bid from Saudi Arabia for the 2034 World Cup. Other interested nations in Asia and Oceania were given less than a month to consider a bid for the 48-team tournament and Australia – after the AFC backed Saudi Arabia – quickly decided to not throw their hat into the ring.

With Saudi Arabia all but certain to land the hosting rights to the 2034 World Cup later this year, FIFA also signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with oil company Aramco, reinforcing the ties between the world governing body and the Arab kingdom.

“I cannot say anything about it being rigged,” said Klaveness. “I have not seen any proof of that, but that’s the problem. It’s not transparent enough for us to know anything. It’s a breach of intentions, of statutes.”

Klaveness’s remarks came on the eve of the Congress where FIFA is expected to pass controversial amendments to its statutes that will turn the clock back on good governance and go against the reforms that Zurich introduced in the wake of the FIFAGate scandal.

FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino, then at UEFA, was a member of the FIFA Reform Committee tasked with overhauling the governing bodies statutes.

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