Connect with us

Nigerian League

FIFA opens up bids for 2034 World Cup with Saudi Arabia in spotlight



Saudi Arabia has now officially entered the race to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup after the football body opened the process last week.

In an unprecedented move, FIFA has not only started to accept hosting bids for an event that is taking place 11 years from now, but has also given countries only four weeks to apply.

Moreover, after the governing body of global football recently announced plans to place the 100th-year anniversary edition of the World Cup across Europe, Africa, and South America (with the 26’ WC scheduled to play out in the US, Mexico and Canada), the continental rotation rule has restricted the 2034 bidding process to only countries from Oceania and Asia.

“In line with the principle of confederation rotation and of securing the best possible hosting conditions for the tournaments, the bidding process for the 2034 edition will be conducted concurrently with the 2030 edition,” FIFA stated.

“With the FIFA World Cup 2026 in Canada, Mexico and the United States, the Centenary Celebration in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay (subject to approval by the FIFA Congress), the FIFA World Cup 2030 in Morocco, Portugal, and Spain (subject to approval by the FIFA Congress) and the invitation to the AFC and OFC member associations to bid for the FIFA World Cup 2034, every continent of the world will have the opportunity to host the FIFA World Cup over an 8-year cycle.”

With the above approvals more likely to happen than not, Saudi Arabia could have a high chance of being accepted to host as it has been on relatively good terms with FIFA President Gianni Infantino for quite some time now.

Even more, the Kingdom might benefit further from relaxed FIFA requirements on the number of stadiums a country needs to become a bidder – lowering the criteria from 14 suitable stadiums of which seven are existing, to only four existing stadiums.

President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), Yasser Al Misehal, commented: “This is the second step of a hugely exciting journey that the nation is embarking on. Last week we announced our ambitions to host the 2034 Fifa World Cup, and this official submission continues our journey to make the dreams of our people a reality.

“The 2034 FIFA World Cup is our invitation to the world to witness Saudi Arabia’s development, experience its culture and become part of its history.

“We are extremely committed to presenting the most competitive bid possible that will also help unite the world through football.”

Despite the FIFA men’s World Cup being expanded from 32 teams to 48, the deadline set for countries to express interest in hosting the 34’ edition has raised a few eyebrows – all bids need to be submitted by 31 October 2023.

And while the short notice seemingly does not correspond to the careful governmental planning required for a state to become a bidder, Saudi Arabia’s application has been in the making for a long time, with the SAFF claiming that it has already gained the support of 70 voting nations.

If true, this has most certainly been the result of the rapidly growing Saudi influence in global football evident from the domestic Saudi league arrival of world-class footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Benzema, as well as the signing of multiple Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with influential football tournaments such as the one with LaLiga from August.

The strongest sentiment so far in support of Saudi Arabia hosting the 34’ FIFA World Cup has come from Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the President of the Asian Football Confederation, who said: “The entire Asian football family will stand united in support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s momentous initiative.”

Criticism of the country’s bid to host however is undoubtedly piling, particularly because of beliefs that Saudi Arabia is using the facade of sports to hide its questionable human rights record – a practice known as ‘sportswashing’ which the Saudi Crown Prince recently addressed directly.

One of the top concerns for human rights activists is the safety of LGBT people who currently possess limited freedoms in Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Sky News, Saudi Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal tried to calm down tensions around this issue by saying: “They are welcome. I’m sure they’ve come to some of our events. We don’t go around asking, ‘Are you gay or straight?’ Everyone’s welcome. There are rules that everyone respects.

“There are rules that everyone respects about our culture and how they have to abide by the culture that we have.

“So even men and women – they can’t show affection in public places, and so on. And that’s a regulation that we have that we need to respect. And we have to respect the culture.”

After all, respect sits at the core of FIFA’s and all of its subsidiaries’ commitment to human rights.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Nigerian League

Heartland beef up Technical crew with Nwachukwu, Gaadi




The management of Heartland FC has announced the further beefing up of the team’s technical crew with two new coaches.

They are Ifeanyi Nwachukwu, former Head coach of SKE, Port Harcourt who is to serve as Assistant Coach 1 and legendary John Gaadi who becomes Goalkeeper Trainer 2.

The club’s General Manager, Promise Nwachukwu presented the two coaches to the players in their last training session on Thursday before their departure to Ibadan for the NPFL Matchday 11 tie with Shooting Stars Sports Club slated for Sunday.

Nwachukwu charged them to be good ambassadors of the club and work with other coaches in the team to fashion out strategies to ensure Heartland FC get out of their present situation on the league table.

He said they should see their new assignment as call to duty and that they should work to justify the confidence repose in them.

“We are happy to have you in our club. You have come to add something unique to the technical crew and we will like you to make hard work your watchword,” Nwachukwu said.

Recall that Heartland FC recently appointed twice NPFL champion, Kennedy Boboye as Technical Adviser while Charles Uzor became the Chief coach among other changes made to ensure the club rediscover winning formula after a not too good start to the season.

Continue Reading

Nigerian League

Club Owners commends NPFL, insists on improved officiating




As part of efforts geared towards strengthening the synergy between the managers of the league, Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) and Nigeria Football Club Owners Association, both bodies met in Abuja on Tuesday and agreed to continue to engage in the interest of the league.

The meeting ended with the Club Owners led by its chairman, Chief Okey Kpalukwu commending the efforts of the NPFL for taking a strong stand against erring match officials, and putting the league on TV. He charged the Honorable Gbenga Elegbeleye led board not to relent in giving Nigerians a league they will be proud of.
“We want to commend the NPFL board for the way it has dealt with the issue of poor officiating by match officials and the promptness applied in doing so.

This is highly commendable and on behalf of the Club Owners, I’ll want to urge you not to rest on your oars because we can’t afford to go back to the ugly past where match officials do whatever they like with impunity and nothing is done to checkmate them. We’re not there yet but we’ve made progress. We are also happy that our games are now on television, this is very important for any league that wants to develop and be attractive to sponsors,” posited the former Sharks Football club of Port Harcourt General Manager.

As far as the Rivers United General Manager is concerned, the NPFL strategic partners, GTI deserves support for what they’ve been able to do for the league which he described as immense, he however asked them to redouble their efforts at attracting more support for the league while pledging the backing of the clubs to enable them achieve the lofty plans they’ve for the league.

On the issue of Total Promotions taking the NPFL to court which is discouraging potential sponsors from supporting the league, Chief Kpalukwu pleaded with the former league partners to stop dragging the league backward.

“I thought we’ve gone past this stage and I’m surprised that this issue of Total Promotions hasn’t gone away. What is certain is that the club owners as a body is solidly behind the NPFL and we condemn in its entirety anything that will set the league backward. Enough is enough”, stated Chief Kpalukwu who is also a member of the NPFL board.

In his response, the NPFL chairman, Hon Elegbeleye thanked the clubs for their continued support for the league body and promised to keep engaging with them to deliver on promises made when the board was sworn in by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) a few months ago.

Continue Reading

Nigerian League

Goals Rain As NLO Cup Kicks Off




It was a carnival of goals, with seven victories, a combined 30 goals scored, and Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu going home with a match ball following his hat-trick, as the inaugural NLO Cup- sponsored by telecommunications giant MTN and FirstCentral Credit Bureau kicked off on Friday in Kano and Uyo.

Eight Matchday One fixtures, four each in Group 1 and Group 2 were concluded at the Sani Abacha Stadium and Uyo Township Stadium respectively, to the delight of anxious fans who came to catch a glimpse of the Nationwide League One brand of football.

It was an interesting curtain raiser in Kano, as Like Minds FC ace Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu was a torn in the flesh for Zeal Minds FC defence, after he fired three goals past them, to became the first player to score a hat-trick and helped his team to a 4-3 win.

Another 7-goal thriller was in Uyo after Jaguar FC needed a late penalty to edge RORO FC 4-3. The game produced six different goal scorers, with Awhana Silas scoring a brace for losing Roro FC.

Ikechukwu Chukwudi opened the scoring for Jaguar FC with a fine finish in the 25th minute to the delight of his team at the Uyo Township Stadium.

Two quick goals were recorded in the space of four minutes after Hassan Joshua doubled the lead for Jaguar FC in the 27th minute while Abraham Samson pulled one back for RORO FC from a scramble two minutes later.

In the 33rd minute, Anyaegbunam Pacian increased the tally with a stunning strike, as Jaguar FC took a 3-1 lead into half-time.

On the one-hour mark, Awhana Silas scored a sensational strike to keep RORO FC’s hope alive to make it 3-2. He then completed what looked like a comeback for his team with his second to draw RORO FC level at 3-3 in the 69th minute. RORO FC will rue hard-luck after Jaguar FC was awarded a spot kick and Godwin Onoja stepped forward to send goalkeeper Tubobo Saheed the wrong way to make it 4-3 for Jaguar FC.

In the second fixture of Matchday One,
Alex Sunday also made history as he scored a hat-trick in the NLO Cup after his team Kun Khalifa FC put four goals past FC Chimoski, who managed just one goal in the game.

It took Alex Sunday 12 minutes to find the back of the net after he put Kun Khalifa ahead with a superb stunning strike from the edge of the box. He then scored his second and third in the 37th and 50th minute.

From the other results, Abuja-based Green Lock FC pipped NA Royal FC 2-1, while Kwankwasiyya FC was also 2-1 better than FC Sheika.
Palm Syrup FC were the first team to keep a clean sheet after they edged Krane FC 2-0.

Tudun Wada FC also kept it decent with their defending after they pipped Barau/Murtala by a lone goal while Olegacy FC and Vandrezzer JNR shared the spoils as the game ended 1-1.


Like Minds FC 4-3 Zeal Minds FC
Green Lock FC 2-1 NA Royal FC
FC Sheika 1-2 Kwankwasiyya FC
Barau/Murtala 0-1 Tudun Wada FC

RORO FC 3-4 Jaguar FC
Krane FC 0-2 Palm Syrup FC
Kun Khalifa FC 4-1 FC Chimoski
Olegacy FC 1-1 Vandrezzer JNR

Continue Reading