Saudi Arabia are considering a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with Italy, reports claim.
According to The Athletic, the Gulf country – 2,000 miles away from Euro 2020 champions Italy – is partnering with the US-based Boston Consultancy Group to contemplate a joint bid.
The last World Cup in 2018 was hosted by Russia, with France crowned champions
However, the report claims the plans are not as far-fetched as it sounds.
It has been suggested the Saudis could team up with Egypt and Morocco to form a MENA [Middle East and North Africa] partnership, in a bid that would unite the African and Asian football confederations.
However, while that makes sense geographically, that would require both Egypt and Morocco to make significant improvements to their infrastructure, and also raises up concerns over the economic impact and potential security problems.
It is claimed, therefore, a European coalition would be the more sensible option despite the obvious geographical challenges.
The Athletic claim to have been told by ‘several sources’ that Italy are the more likely candidates.
While Italy has hosted four major football tournaments, the nation has not made serious investment into their stadiums since the Italian 90 World Cup – which is where the oil-rich Saudis could help.
Saudi Arabia are already set to host this season’s Italian Super Cup – Serie A champions vs Coppa Italia winners – having already staged the season opener for the last two campaigns.
On Thursday, Italian football federation president Gabriele Gravina said Italy “will evaluate an Italian candidacy for the 2028 European Championship and the World Cup of 2030, in which the centenary of the world championship is celebrated”.
The bidding process for 2030 edition of the biggest football tournament in the world is in its very early stages.
Boris Johnson confirmed in March that Great Britain and Ireland want to ‘bring football home’ in the summer of 2030.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister insisted the UK has a “very good case” to host the 2030 World Cup despite scenes of mayhem at Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 final.
Ticketless fans, described as “drunken yobs” by Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham, were able to gain entry to the stadium for the match between England and Italy, with reports that valid ticket-holders were left afraid to confront people who had stolen their seats.
Answering a question from POLITICO at a Downing Street press conference on Monday, Johnson admitted the endeavour would be “a long and difficult process,” but said the UK and Ireland had “a very good case.”
“It was a shame a small minority yesterday tried to spoil it or behaved badly but I don’t think it damaged the atmosphere, certainly not in the stadium itself,” he said.