Any hopes New Zealand might have hosted a few games at the 2034 FIFA Men’s World Cup have been dashed by Australia’s decision not to bid to co-host the tournament.
Football Australia have instead opted to seek hosting rights for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup, which clears the way for Saudi Arabia to be the sole bidder for the 2034 men’s World Cup.
FIFA had opened the door for the Asia and Oceania confederations to put together a plan to host the 2034 tournament, after accepting a joint bid from the African and European continents to host the 2030 World Cup.
Member associations, including NZ Football and Football Australia, had till October 31 to submit expressions of interest.
Instead, NZ Football have stated:
“NZF have explored the opportunity of being part of a bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, but after careful consideration and discussion with potential partners we have decided not to put forward an expression of interest in relation to hosting the event.’’
Football Australia issued a statement, saying:
“We have explored the opportunity to bid to host the FIFA World Cup and — having taken all factors into consideration — we have reached the conclusion not to do so for the 2034 competition.
“Instead, we believe we are in a strong position to host the oldest women’s international competition in the world, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, and then welcome the greatest teams in world football for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup.
“Achieving this — following the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games — would represent a truly golden decade for Australian football.”
The success of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, had prompted speculation the two countries could collaborate again to host a men’s World Cup.
To qualify, New Zealand would have needed to upgrade some stadia to accommodate crowds of more than 40,000.
Main photo credit: Fauzan Saari / Unsplash.