FIFA bidding rules give Saudi Arabia edge



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FIFA relaxed WC stadium regulations Image: SAFF

The FIFA has relaxed the bidding rules around stadiums for the 2034 Men’s World Cup in a move that allows countries with fewer established football venues to host the tournament.

‘The Guardian’ stated that the decision is at odds with attempts in other sports to create more sustainable events and minimize the construction of “white elephants”.

The Fédération internationale de football association, abbreviated as FIFA, is the governing body of association football, beach soccer and futsal. It was founded in 1904 to oversee international competition among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, its membership now comprises 211 national associations.

The 2034 FIFA World Cup™ will be the 25th FIFA World Cup™, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member-associations of FIFA.

‘The Guardian’ further stated that in FIFA’s overview of the bidding processes for the 2030 and 2034 tournaments, the member- associations “must propose a minimum of 14 suitable stadiums, of which at least seven must be existing stadiums”.

The 2030 FIFA World Cup™ will be the 24th FIFA World Cup™, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. The 2030 World Cup will mark the centennial World Cup competition. For the first time, three countries from two continents will host the competition, with Spain, Portugal and Morocco as the host nations. Additionally, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay will serve as nations that open the event, as a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup. This will be the first World Cup held in Africa since 2010, in South America since 2014 and in Europe since 2018.

However, in FIFA’s overview of hosting requirements for 2034, circulated recently, that requirement had been relaxed.

The documents states, “Of the 14 suitable stadiums proposed, any bid must propose a minimum of four existing stadiums.”

FIFA has allocated the 2034 tournament to bidders from Asia and Oceania under its policy of rotation. Saudi Arabia announced its intention to host the tournament within minutes of bids opening.

FIFA requires stadiums with a minimum capacity of 40,000 for the tournament, with key matches needing room for 60,000 and 80,000 spectators.

Saudi Arabia’s successful bid proposal for the 2027 Asian Cup included four stadiums of 40,000 capacities or more: Two in Riyadh that are being upgraded, one in Jeddah and a new build in Dammam. Construction on the 40,000-capacity Dammam Stadium commenced last month. The stadium will have two levels of stands, hospitality areas, lodges, and sky boxes. It will be suitable for football matches and other world-class events.

The 2027 AFC Asian Cup will be the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Asia organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The tournament involves 24 national teams after the expansion in 2019. It will be held in Saudi Arabia in January 2027.

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)-based the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football, beach soccer and futsal in some countries/territories in Asia. It has 47 members.

A FIFA spokesperson said, “The bidding regulations require FIFA to use the 2030 requirements as a base and adapt were [sic] appropriate and applicable to make them fit-for-purpose. The requirement for the 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.”

The updated document clarifies the definition of the existing stadiums to mean “currently in existence or currently under construction” or “requires renovation or reconstruction, whereby the main structural elements are preserved”.

It also sets out that the determination of whether a stadium is “existing” or not will be made by FIFA “based on the project documentation provided and any observations made during any official inspection visits”.

The expressions of interest by potential hosts for 2034 must be lodged by October 31st. Australia is “exploring the possibility” of a bid.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has encouraged the use of existing facilities by the Olympic hosts. It claims 95 percent of venues for Paris 2024 will be pre-existing facilities – including some refurbished and modernized – or temporary structures.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the governing body of the modern Olympic Games. The IOC organizes the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) every four years. The IOC’s headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The 2024 Summer Olympics, and commonly known as Paris 2024, is a forthcoming international multisport event that is scheduled to take place from July 26th-August 11th, 2024 with Paris as its main Host City and 16 Cities spread across metropolitan France and one in Tahiti – an island within the French overseas country and overseas collectivity of French Polynesia – as a subsite.

The Australian Olympic Committee has claimed that the 2032 Brisbane Olympics will be cost-neutral thanks to its use of existing facilities.

The Queensland Government has announced plans to renovate the 42,000-capacity Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, at a cost of $2.7bn in time for the event.

The 2032 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXV Olympiad and also known as Brisbane 2032, is an upcoming international multisport event scheduled to take place between July 23rd-August 8th, 2032 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

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