FIFA boss Infantino wants unity: Saudi Arabia has secured the 2034 World Cup in 13 days

FIFA boss Infantino wants unity
Saudi Arabia has secured the 2034 World Cup in 13 days

When it comes to awarding the 2034 World Cup, potential competition is gradually siding with Saudi Arabia. The extremely rich desert state is almost at its destination. It could happen in 13 days. Then the deadline for potential opposing candidates expires. Australia is isolated.

The low resistance against Saudi Arabia continues to crumble, the potential competition is collapsing – but to be on the safe side, Gianni Infantino has already sworn an entire continent to the awarding of the 2034 World Cup. There are already “enough divisions in the world,” the FIFA boss called out to the members of the Asian Confederation AFC: “We have opportunities to send messages of unity.”

Since Wednesday at the latest, Infantino’s wish is no longer in danger; the head of the world association does not have to fear a major fight for the tournament in eleven years. Because Indonesia abandoned its plans for a possible joint application with Australia and other countries, more and more nations are gradually siding with Saudi Arabia – the desert state is now almost there.

“Indonesia supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the World Cup in 2034,” said a statement from the association’s head Erick Thohir, who had previously reported on discussions with the Australians. But the considerations are off the table, especially since Malaysia, one of the potential co-hosts in the thought games, also supports the Saudi application.

The high point of sportswashing so far

The AFC had anyway sided with the extremely rich kingdom shortly after Saudi Arabia’s advance two weeks ago. Although Australia announced shortly afterwards that it would continue to look into a possible bid, the host of the 2023 Women’s World Cup is gradually running out of potential partners. Apart from Saudi Arabia, no one has yet officially taken cover; the shortened deadline only runs until October 31st.

Critics accuse the world association FIFA of clearing the way for the controversial Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman through its plans for 2030. In 2034, only organizers from Asia and Oceania will be considered; FIFA wants to award the tournament as early as next year. Should the contract actually go to the desert state, the so-called sportswashing of the absolute monarchy would have reached its climax.

Infantino calls for unity

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), human rights are being trampled on in Saudi Arabia. But hardly anyone doubts that the contract will be awarded – criticism of FIFA’s friendly dealings with the Gulf state is widespread outside the football cosmos. “The values ​​that FIFA and subordinate associations give themselves are not worth the paper on which they were written. The behavior is really shameful,” said Wenzel Michalski, Germany director of HRW, to the “Münchner Merkur/TZ”: “Football is becoming a stooge.”

Michalski also includes the German Football Association (DFB), which is turning a blind eye to this. “Whenever you ask, they always just say: We don’t have that much influence, and it doesn’t bother many others – what should we do? That’s a convenient excuse,” said the director: “The DFB betrays his own values, the values ​​of sport.” Infantino, on the other hand, might see it completely differently. At the AFC Congress, he emphasized that it was about “being united in Asia, being united for the 2034 World Cup.” United for Saudi Arabia?

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