NEOM as venue for 2034 FIFA extravaganza


Saudi to include NEOM venue into the WC bid Image: NEOM

Saudi Arabia announced on October 4th that it will bid to host the 2034 World Cup just minutes after the world soccer’s governing body FIFA invited countries from the Asia and Oceania regions to submit bids.

‘Construction Week’ stated that Saudi Arabia has proposed the inclusion of the NEOM giga-development in the Northeastern region of the country as one of the venues.

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.

NEOM is a new urban area planned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and which is under construction. The site sits North of the Red Sea, East of Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba and South of Jordan. The total planned area of NEOM is 26,500 km².

With 20 percent of infrastructure already completed, NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion gigaproject, is well underway, with feasibility studies being conducted, contracts being awarded and launch dates being set, all while new projects are being announced. The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion by 2025 and in 2024 tourists will begin to visit.

‘Construction Week’ further stated that the original idea of co-hosting the tournament in 2030 with Egypt and Greece was abandoned, and Saudi Arabia is now going solo to bid for the FIFA 2034 soccer extraordinaire.

As part of its bid, Saudi Arabia envisions hosting matches within the NEOM project, potentially at the Trojena ski resort, which has already secured the rights to host the 2029 Winter Games.

The Trojena will be the first sub-zero snow destination and outdoor ski resort in the Gulf – and now developers behind Saudi Arabia’s mountain project Trojena – part of the Kingdom’s NEOM’s $500 billion mega project – have revealed how they are building the vast resort in the megaCity’s snow-capped district as they reveal “substantial” work is underway on the vast site.

The 2029 Asian Winter Games, officially known as the 10th Asian Winter Games and commonly known as Trojena 2029, will be the 10th edition of the Asian Winter Games, a pan-Asian Winter multisport event to be held in Trojena of NEOM, Saudi Arabia.

The mountainous resort and other high-altitude locations in the country are being considered for hosting games in a Summer tournament. Alternatively, a Winter tournament, similar to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, could also be an option.

Investing in Sports

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has heavily invested in sports, attracting high-profile football players like Cristiano Ronaldo (Portuguese professional footballer who captains the Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr), Karim Benzema (French professional footballer who plays as a striker for the Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad) and Neymar (Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal) to play in the country.

Additionally, the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup™ is scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia, and the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns a significant stake in the Premier League team – the Newcastle United Football Club – in the United Kingdom.

The 2023 FIFA Club World Cup™ will be the 20th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup™, a FIFA-organized international club football tournament between the winners of the six continental confederations as well as the host nation’s league champions. The tournament will be played in Saudi Arabia from December 12th-22nd, 2023. It will be the last seven-team Club World Cup before the tournament is expanded to 32 teams in 2025.

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)-based the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. It is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of US$776 billion. It was created in 1971 for the purpose of investing funds on behalf of the Government of Saudi Arabia.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is also a major investor in the NEOM development, which includes the ski resort and a 170-kilometer-long City called THE LINE.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. The 2030 FIFA World Cup™ will be hosted in Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

A unique 2030 World Cup is set to be played in Europe and Africa with the surprising addition of South America in a deal to allow the men’s soccer tournament to start with a 100th birthday party in Uruguay. The 2030 World Cup will mark the centennial World Cup competition with the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ taking place in 1930 in Uruguay.

The first games of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay will be hosted in their respective countries, and then these three countries will also head to Morocco, Spain and Portugal for the rest of the fixtures.

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