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Report: Saudi Arabia footing bill in joint 2030 World Cup bid with Greece and Egypt

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said to be backing tri-continental group.

12 September 2022 Tom Bassam

Getty Images

  • Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin “sure” Spain and Portugal will host tournament
  • Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay also set to submit joint bid

Saudi Arabia is leading a joint bid for the 2030 Fifa World Cup alongside Egypt and Greece, according to The Times.

The oil-rich state has been using its considerable cash reserves to enhance its global reputation by hosting major events and investing in sport. The country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) acquired Premier League club Newcastle last year and has backed the LIV Golf breakaway tour, as well as footing the bill for Saudi Arabia’s push into hosting motorsport events.

The Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud recently expressed a desire for the country to host the Olympics and now, according to The Times, the kingdom is set to make a play for international soccer’s showpiece tournament.

The report says that the Saudis are prepared to bankroll the infrastructure projects required to host the World Cup in the countries of its bidding partners, Egypt and Greece.

While the reported bid would face serious competition from the alliance of Spain and Portugal, the prospect of a tournament hosted across three continents would appease a lot of federation executives. Fifa president Gianni Infantino is said to be keen on the Saudi proposal as it includes an African nation and taking the World Cup back to that continent is high on his priority list.

According to The Times, should the tripartite hosting bid prove successful it would mean another World Cup played during the European winter, a prospect not popular in soccer’s most powerful confederation, Uefa.

Aleksander Ceferin, president of the European soccer body, is a key advocate of the Spain-Portugal bid.

Speaking at the Football Talks event earlier this month, Ceferin said: “I am sure that the 2030 World Cup will be played in Spain and Portugal.

“This bid is a winning one and we will do everything possible to help two countries that are passionate, live and breathe football and that have a good infrastructure.”

Conmebol, the South American soccer body, also has a favoured bid in the form of Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. The four countries are hoping the pull of bringing the World Cup back to Uruguay, a century on from its inaugural edition in the country, will help their cause.

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