MELBOURNE (Reuters )- Following Australia’s confirmation on Tuesday that it will not be submitting a bid for soccer’s world cup, Saudi Arabia was left as the clear favorite to host the 2034 competition.

By October 31st, FIFA had solicited proposals for the tournament from Asia and Oceania.

James Johnson, the head of Football Australia (FA), had stated that the nation was “exploring the possibility” of 2034; however, the governing body announced on Tuesday that it will put its attention on bids for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup.

Saudi Arabia is the sole bidder who has been confirmed, following Australia’s decision not to move further with 2034. Shortly after Asia and Oceania proposals were requested on October 4 by soccer’s international governing body, Saudi Arabia declared its intention to submit a bid.

The head of the Asian Football Confederation, the sport’s continental governing organization to which Australia belongs, stated that “the entire Asian football family” will back the Saudi proposal.

A week following FIFA’s invitation, Indonesia announced it was in talks with Australia over a prospective combined candidacy with Malaysia and Singapore, before stating a week later that it supported Saudi Arabia’s proposal.

Australia held a successful Women’s World Cup this year, but has never hosted a Men’s World Cup.

“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,” the Football Association (FA) announced.

“Achieving this …would represent a truly golden decade for Australian football.”

FIFA added World Cup centennial matches in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, and granted Morocco, Portugal, and Spain the 2030 World Cup.

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