Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ‘offered to pay for new stadiums’ in Greece and Egypt if they agree to join a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup – instead of the Gulf state that ‘hosts three-quarters of all matches’
- The bidding process for the 2024 World Cup is set to open later this year
- Joint bids with Saudi Arabia, Greece and Egypt are being made by the countries
- Saudi Arabia offered to pay for hosting costs if Greece and Egypt joined the bid
Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to pay for new stadiums in Greece and Egypt if those two countries agree to join the Gulf state in a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
The three countries are working together on a bid for the tournament and will face competition from Europe – with a joint bid from Spain, Portugal and Ukraine – and from South America – with a bid from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile.
A decision on the tournament will be voted on by the FIFA congress in 2024, with the official bidding process set to begin later this year.
And, according to POLITICO, Saudi Arabia has offered to effectively pay for Greece and Egypt’s hosting costs if they join their bid and in return, the Gulf state can host three quarters of everything of tournament games.
The report states that it will cost billions of pounds in construction costs, but the proposal was discussed in a private conversation in the summer of 2022 between Mohammed bin Salman – the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – and the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has offered to pay for new stadiums in Greece and Egypt if they agree to join them in a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup
The Saudi bid is seen as having more chances of success with two other countries on board
Saudi Arabia has effectively informed the other two countries that it will ‘fully bear the costs’ of hosting the tournament if they host 75 percent of the games.
Their motivations behind the offer – which is unclear if it has been accepted by Greece and Egypt – are reportedly due to the fact that it would see the tournament held on three continents.
There is a belief that a bid for another tournament in the Middle East – just eight years after Qatar will host the 2022 edition of the World Cup – will struggle to succeed.
The presence of countries from three continents is also likely to attract votes from FIFA’s congress – which is made up of more than 200 members from around the world.
As for Africa, the joint bid hopes it will receive support because of Egypt’s presence, along with Saudi investment in the region.
The same is expected in Asia and there is hope that if Greece can get support from European countries, they will have a strong chance of winning the polls.
However, this bid is likely to generate further accusations that Saudi Arabia is using its wealth and power to effectively ‘buy the World Cup’ and continue their sportswashing, while also creating a coalition of countries from several continent to manipulate the voting system.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of using sportswashing to distract people from the country’s poor human rights record after it hosted several high-profile sporting events such as heavyweight boxing bouts, a Formula One Grand Prix while they funded the controversial LIV Golf Breakaway League.
The Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (above) met with Bin Salman to discuss the issue
The only bid in the Middle East is unlikely to succeed eight years after Qatar hosted the World Cup
Newcastle United is also owned by a Saudi-backed group. The Gulf state has been criticized for its crackdown on freedom of expression as well as its use of the death penalty and treatment of migrant workers.
But, along with the element of sports prestige, the report states that if they get the rights to host the tournament, it will be part of Saudi’s wider intention to position itself as an AfroEurasian hub, where the country is destined to have a powerful power and influence that spans. three continents.
The three countries have also developed closer ties in recent years with Greek PM Mitsotakis visiting Riyadh on several occasions and providing military supplies and personnel to Saudi Arabia.
Athens is also the first European capital that Bin Salman has visited since US intelligence concluded in a declassified report that he approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has always tended to enjoy close diplomatic relations with Egypt and last June they signed several agreements and investment deals worth billions of Euros.
News/Image Sources: Daily Mail